Vitamin C 'boosts tumour death in cancer patients'

Researchers claim to have found evidence that vitamin C can boost tumour death in brain cancer patients, a finding which could pave the way for an effective treatment for the disease.

An international team, led by University of Otago, says its research has revealed that high doses of vitamin C makes it easier for radiation therapy to kill brain tumour cells in cancer patients.

In their study, the researchers actually analysed how combining high dose vitamin C with radiation affected survival of cancer cells isolated from glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumours and compared this with survival of normal cells.

The findings revealed that high dose vitamin C by itself caused DNA damage and cell death which was more pronounced when high dose vitamin C was given just prior to radiation, the 'Free Radical Biology and Medicine' journal reported.

Lead author Dr Patries Herst said that GBM patients have a poor prognosis because the aggressive GBM tumours are very resistant to radiation therapy. "We found that high dose vitamin C makes it easier to kill these GBM cells by radiation therapy," she said in a university release.

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