Scientists have developed a new unusual method of fighting cancer stem cells (CCS) by combining antibiotics with vitamin C. The compound not only helps treat tumors but also reduces the chance of it recurring.
The experiment that mixed doxicillin with vitamin C (ascorbic acid) was 100 times more effective in destroying CSF than another tested anti-cancer agent, called 2-deoxy-D-glucose, according to Science Alert.
The new study is based on a previous one by the same team at the University of Salford in the United Kingdom, which analyzes how vitamin C can be used to kill CSFs by stopping the mitochondria of cells from producing energy.
The newly created mechanism works in the following way: In the first step, the antibiotic stops the cancer cells from changing the different types of energy sources, forcing them to rely solely on glucose. In other words, it causes the cells to be metabolically inflexible, which would be susceptible to the destruction of some cancer cells, but not all.
That’s why scientists say this is why some tumors become resistant to antibiotics – they survive by feeding on glucose. Here comes vitamin C, which removes and connects with the glucose source, starving the cells.
One good thing is that both substances are not toxic, so the side effects will be minimal.
For the time being, the study was conducted exclusively in the laboratory, the method was not tested on animals. The study also looked at breast cancer alone, so it is not known whether this method can be applied to other types of cancer cells.
Even so, the study is promising in the context of involving cancer stem cells – those types of cells that are supposed to be the major agents underlying the growth and recurrence of tumors.
The next step is testing the method on animals and humans. The study was published in the Oncotarget journal.