They discover that cancer cells are “strengthened” with vitamin C

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Researchers from the University of Concepción, in Chile, discovered that Carcinogenic cells they satisfy their nutritional needs and “become immortal” ingesting vitamin C recycled

It is a key mechanism that these cells use to survive, the team determined, led by the Dr. Coralia Rivas and whose work has been published recently by the magazine Free Radical Biology and Medicine.

According to the investigation, Cancer cells acquire vitamin C Oxidated (dehydroascorbic acid or DHA), which is found in high concentrations around tumors, transports it to its interior and converts it into reduced vitamin C, (AA, ascorbic acid), which has an antioxidant function.

“We discovered an unexpected feature of the tumor cells, who are able to accumulate large amounts of vitamin C inside, compared to normal cells, “said Dr. Rivas to the university radio.

“We tested tumor cells from breast, prostate, leukemia, and all these cell lines fulfilled this characteristic,” said the researcher, for whom the most important thing is that this mechanism means that the vitamin C, as it is antioxidant, “I would be protecting the tumor cells.”

Carola Muñoz, doctor in Biological Sciences and member of the research team, explained that unlike normal cells, the tumor cells they have a transporter that takes this reduced vitamin C and takes it directly to the mitochondria (organelles responsible for supplying most of the energy necessary for cellular activity).

“We think that it is a mechanism through which the tumor cells become immortal, despite being surrounded by oxidizing signals that would otherwise induce his death, “he said.

The transporter, called SVCT2, “would allow the mitochondria of the tumor to transfer the vitamin to its interior and, in this way, prevent the death of the cancer cell”, added Muñoz, who said that this transporter is located inside the cell and not on the surface, as expected.

For Dr. Rivas, the next step of the research is to create a pharmacological solution that inhibits the action of this method of transporting the vitamin, which means “continuing with the search for molecules that can serve to block the entry of vitamin C into the mitochondria”.

In that line, “the call It is not to remove vitamin C of the diet, but what you have to do is eliminate from the cell the ability to survive with this mechanism, “said Carola Muñoz.

Vitamin C “is a fundamental element for any living being, and in the case of humans it must be in the diet”, he stressed, and warned that by removing it “rather you will cause an extremely complicated disease and you will be unprotected. “

The discovery, according to Coralia Rivas, is the possibility of creating new therapies that seek to prevent the survival of different types of cancer.

In Chile, 62 people die every day due to some type of cancer, according to official data, while in the Parliament debate a project that seeks to improve the financing of treatments against this disease.


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