A common problem with modern cancer treatment is that even if 100% of cancer cells are eradicated at tumor sites and in the blood circulation, a small cadre of cancer stem cells may give rise to recurrence months to years later. Oncologists are never quite sure they have cured this dreaded disease. Failure to kill cancer stem cells is likened to killing all the weeds in a garden but never pulling out their roots. [Ludwig Center, Stanford Medicine]
But now, in a groundbreaking animal experiment, cancer researchers in Italy and the United Kingdom report they have killed cancer stem cells, not with a gene-targeted drug or an engineered monoclonal antibody, but with a common antibiotic plus vitamin C. The results are astounding — antibiotics + vitamin C could be up to 100 times more effective than drugs at killing cancer cells – without the side effects” says a news report. [Daily Mail June 9, 2017]
The antibiotic doxycycline, an analog of tetracycline, is FDA approved and commonly used to quell infections such as facial acne. Doxycycline kills cancer stem cells by interfering with cellular compartments called mitochondria where oxygen is turned into energy. Doxycycline demonstrably suppresses production of key DNA proteins in cellular energy compartments by 35-fold.
However, cancer stem cells are cunningly resistive to treatment. Some cancer stem cells exposed to the antibiotic will convert to utilizing sugar for energy, a process called glycolysis. You Donu2019t Have to ... Best Price: $23.97 Buy New $77.05 (as of 12:55 EDT - Details)
Vitamin C, at blood concentrations that can be achieved with vitamin C pills, was then employed to selectively interfere with glycolysis in the final and complete eradication of treatment-resistant cancer stem cells.
The combined treatment “effectively starves the cancer stem cell population,” says lead researcher Michael Lisanti at the University of Salford in Greater Manchester, UK. [Oncotarget June 9, 2017]
As Dr. Lisanti and colleagues explain in their report, doxycycline-treated cancer stem cells are 4-to-10-fold more vulnerable to vitamin C-induced death. Doxycycline drives remaining live stem cells from oxygen to sugar metabolism and mega-dose vitamin C finishes them off.
The blood concentration of vitamin C required to kill off cancer stems cells (100-250 micromole) is achievable orally. [Puerto Rico Health Science Journal March 2008] Mega-dose vitamin C generates transient hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) that converts to non-toxic H2O (water).
This novel yet simple treatment exploits metabolic vulnerabilities in cancer stem cells. It has previously been reported that the cure rate for infections treated with an antibiotic are 5-times higher when vitamin C is used as co-treatment. [Australian New Zealand Journal Obstetrics Gynecology 2009] It is known that vitamin C potentiates antibiotics. [Brazilian Archives Biology Technology 2005]
As Dr. Lisanti explains, in this striking experiment the antibiotic + vitamin C didn’t work additively (1+1 = 2) but rather synergistically (1 + 1 = 100)!
Sadly, this is Nobel-Prize quality research but the highbrow scientific community may not give it much consideration. The National Institutes of Health should be calling for a worldwide conference and prioritizing grants for this type of (fast-track) research.
This kind of simple cure would certainly disrupt the research and develop pipeline of many pharmaceutical companies as well.
We Already Know How to... Check Amazon for Pricing. Scientific recognition or not, Dr. Lisanti’s research isn’t going to be pushed into obscurity. Dr. Lisanti previously reported that vitamin C and certain herbal extracts are effective cancer stem cell inhibitors [Oncotarget March 28, 2017] and says more studies are in the publication pipeline and will soon follow.
Addendum: The question arises, a decade from now, will this promising cancer treatment be forgotten and ignored and never implemented by practicing oncologists?
Since ~80% of the income of private-practice oncologists is generated by billing for in-office chemotherapy infusions, the welcome mat for this type of simple and inexpensive therapy is not likely to be out.
It needs to be noted that natural molecules such as carvacrol, extracted from oil of oregano, and thymol oil from thyme, are considered close mimics of doxycycline. [Journal Dairy Science Feb 2017; International Journal Pharmaceutics Feb 10, 2016] The blood level of vitamin to achieve a cancer stem cell-killing effect is exceeded by taking 3000 mg of ascorbic acid four times a day at equal intervals.
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