Healthy Beginnings

Vitamin C is Effective in Targeting Cancer Stem Cells

An exciting new study at the University of Salford, Manchester has shown that vitamin C is more effective at killing cancer stem cells than six other substances.

A team of scientists at the university concluded that vitamin C is “up to ten times more effective at stopping cancer cell growth than pharmaceuticals such as 2-DG”.

The research, published in Oncotarget, is the first evidence that vitamin C (ascorbic acid) can be used to target and kill cancer stem cells (CSCs), the cells responsible for fueling resistant fatal tumors.

Dr. Michael Lisanti, professor of Translational Medicine at the University of Salford, said, “We have been looking at how to target cancer stem cells with a range of substances but by far the most exciting are the results with vitamin C. Vitamin C is cheap, natural, non-toxic and readily available so to have it as a potential weapon in the fight against cancer would be a significant step.”

Cancer stem-like cells are thought to be the root cause of chemotherapy resistance, leading to treatment failure in patients with advanced disease and the triggers of tumor recurrence and metastasis (spread).

Vitamin C has previously been shown to be effective as a non-toxic anti-cancer agent in studies by Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, and was recently shown to reduce mortality by 25 percent in breast cancer patients in Japan. However, its effects on CSC activity have not been previously evaluated. In this context, it behaves as an inhibitor of glycolysis (fermentation), which fuels energy production in these cancer cells.

The other major concept behind High Dose Intravenous Vitamin C (HDIVC) is that it is used as a pro-drug for the production of hydrogen peroxide in the extracellular space, which can generate free radicals that are damaging to the cancer cells. It does this by stimulating certain cells to produce internal peroxide. Normal cells can reduce the peroxide to water and oxygen.

Emerging data indicate that there are additive effects of ascorbate (vitamin C) with other neoplastic (anti-cancer) agents. A review of available data in 2008 summarized multiple existing cancer therapies and their effect in combination with ascorbate and found all agents were either not affected or enhanced by ascorbate.

Newer data published between late 2011 and 2012 also reveal only positive additive effects using HDIVC in combination with existing cancer treatments.

The evidence continues to mount that vitamin C can play a valuable role in the defeat of this vicious disease.

For more information, contact Reno Integrative Medical Center, 6110 Plumas St., Ste. B, Reno, NV 89519, at 775-829-1009 or visit