The studies hope to find that vitamin C in combination with other cancer treatments, can actually increase the survival of patients suffering from cancer.
When people take orally this vitamin, large amounts of it are excreted or remain unused in the body.
Conversely, intravenous injection of vitamin C into the blood is more efficiently 100 to 500 times in relation to oral use, the experts say.
This could explain why many clinical studies of this vitamin and cancer relationships, most of which relied on oral use, failed to support the results obtained in laboratory trials.
The latest study on this subject, conducted by scientists at The University of Iowa in the United States, suggests that the potential for vitamin C in the fight against cancer does not come from its antioxidant capacity, as previously assumed.
On the contrary, this vitamin generates free radicals that separate cancer cells.
At the same time, this vitamin is leaving healthy cells completely untreated.
Targeting weakness of malignant cell
In a previous study, the same scientists have found that high doses of vitamin C selectively kill cancer cells.
In the new study, they tried to find out the causes behind this effect.
They found that this vitamin quickly breaks down.
In addition, it`s producing a free radical of hydrogen peroxide as a by-product.
This is a paradoxical effect because free radicals are compounds that are damaging DNA.
At the same time, these compounds are removing antioxidants from the body such as vitamin C.
Researchers also discovered that healthy cells have defense mechanisms.
On that way, healthy cells can easily withstand the oxidative effects of hydrogen peroxide.
Also, they discover that cancer cells are much less effective in removing hydrogen peroxide from normal cells.
Thus, cancer cells are prone to damaging and death when they are under the influence of high levels of hydrogen peroxide.
This explains why a very large amount of this vitamin does not affect normal tissue.
At the same time, that large amount can destroy tumor tissue.
Vitamin C high-dose treatment without any side effects
Researchers found that healthy cells use different mechanisms to remove hydrogen peroxide.
One of the primary mechanisms to remove hydrogen peroxide is enzyme catalase.
They also discover that lower catalase activity in cells produces more damage to them than exposure to hydrogen peroxide.
The results show that cancer with a low-dose of catalase level responds to high vitamin C doses.
In addition, cancer with a relatively high-dose of catalase level shows weaker results.
Scientists are planning to discover the ways to measure levels of catalase at the tumor.
Also, they will test this hypothesis further.
The scientists conduct clinical trials by using an intravenous high dose of vitamin C in patients with pancreatic cancer and lung cancer.
Earlier, some studies have found that this treatment has limited side effects and can improve patient outcomes.
The new studies hope to find that vitamin C, combined with other cancer treatments, can actually increase the survival of patients suffering from cancer.