Hyderabad: Vitamin C is being touted as the super strength vitamin to fight leukaemia, according to a study published in Cell. The study has found that vitamin C helps combat the effect of a mutated gene that can cause uncontrolled stem cell growth, triggering leukaemia.
Leukaemia is caused by mutation in Tet Methylcytosine Dixoygenase 2 gene. This gene mutation leads to an uncontrollable growth of cancerous cells. It was found that the use of vitamin C helps restore TET2 gene to working order, slowing the progression of leukaemia.
Dr K. Srinkanth, a senior oncologist, said, “Vitamin C is prescribed for all cancer patients as it is known to limit proliferation of cancer. It is found to be effective in the linings of intestine, stomach and mouth areas. Hence vitamin C is found to work in these parts of the body. But in blood cancer it is in the bone marrow and it has to be established with larger studies.”
Dr Srinivas C., another oncologist, said, “Vitamin C is given in combination with the chemotherapy or oral anti-cancer drugs. This is done to fight cancer cells and the combination is found to be effective. Vitamin C as single treatment may not be that effective and has to be further probed.”
Studies on animals have found that vitamin C can block cancerous tumours. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved vitamin C in the form of intravenous treatment for cancer patients as it has demanded more testing to prove safety.
A senior oncologist, on condition of anonymity, said, “For cancer patients, vitamin C can be given only as a supplement or as a part of the diet. There are many studies claiming that it restricts the tumor growth but in clinical practice we have found that it does not do so.”