Antibiotics and Vitamin C Could Kill Cancer Cells

Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work

JUNE 30, 2017

This is a tantalizing report from the UK. A single study has suggested that an antibiotic, followed by large doses of Vitamin C, killed many cancer cells without the side effects and risks of chemotherapy. Before we all celebrate, however, remember the many caveats: this is a single study; it was done solely in the lab without any testing on animals, let alone humans; there is no support beyond optimism that there really will be no side effects (remember that this approach has not been tested on humans) and that the benefits might last.

Here is the good news: this is surely proof that scientists are continuing to think creatively and work hard and test all kinds of anti-cancer approaches. And wouldn't it be nice if this holds up with further testing

From NHS Choices comes this report:

Antibiotics and vitamin C could kill cancer cells

Researchers targeted the 'powerhouse' of the cancer cells

"Vitamin C and antibiotics could be up to 100 times more effective than drugs at killing cancer cells – without the side effects," reports the Mail Online. The news comes from the results of a study that found a new two-pronged approach using the antibiotic doxycycline followed by vitamin C could kill cancer cells. Doxycycline killed many cancer cells, but others became resistant. The resistant cells were then destroyed by vitamin C.

While this is encouraging news, it needs to be put into context. The experiments all took place in the laboratory. Researchers used human breast cancer stem cells, but didn't perform any studies on animals or humans. This means we don't know how successful this strategy could be – and the Mail's claim there would be no side effects is unsupported. Though both doxycycline and vitamin C are safe to use in humans, more research is needed to find out how they interact with other cancer treatments and therapies before this can be recommended as a new approach to treating cancer.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.
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