Vitamin C plus antibiotic, doxycycline, a lethal combination to cancer stem cells

Vitamin C plus antibiotic, doxycycline, a lethal combination to cancer stem cells

Scientists at the University of Salford, Biomedical Research Centre have shown that cancer stem cells can be defeated by a ‘double punch’ of an antibiotic called doxycycline in combination with vitamin C.
Cancer Stem Cells regrow - if you let them
Cancer stem cells lie at the heart of all cancers and there is no current drug which is successful against them. Modern drugs can only ‘knock back’ tumours, reducing their size. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) always seem to remain, often with increased resistance to the drugs, free to re-grow if the right conditions are present.

In 2012, Dr. Young S. Kim of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda showed that a poor diet would help the cancer stem cells regrow whilst a good diet containing certain bioactive natural compounds like sulphoraphanes, curcumin, piperine, Vitamin E, EGCG (from green tea), genestein, theanine and choline. Kim went on to say that all these compounds could also be obtained from quality supplements.

Go to: Bioactive compounds can stop cancer stem cell regrowth

Doxycycline and cancer
Normal cancer cells are metabolically inflexible. They need glucose and it is virtually their only fuel source. However, the core cancer stem cells are different.

 “We now know that a proportion of cancer cells escape chemotherapy and develop drug resistance; we established this new strategy to find out how they do it,” Professor Michael Lisanti, who designed the study, explained.

We suspected the answer lay in the fact that certain cancer cells – which we call metabolically flexible - are able to switch their fuel source. Thus, when the drug treatment reduces the availability of a particular nutrient, the flexible cancer cells can feed themselves with an alternative energy source.
First, the researchers added doxycycline in ever increasing doses over a three-month period and this restricted the CSCs flexibility so that they could only use glucose. They became weak and vulnerable to a second metabolic ‘punch’.
So, what is doxycycline? Doxycycline is a tetracycline antibiotic, which has been used for decades. However, it is now known to have several ‘side-effects’ useful in fighting cancer. For example, it has an effect on mitochondria, the cell’s power stations. Also it inhibits enzymes called matrix metalloprotieinases (MMPs), which are involved in metastases and tissue invasion, especially in the bones. Research has shown the reduction in bone mets in mic with breast cancer.
Vitamin C and cancer
Next, they took away the glucose fuel too – by blocking the cells’ ability to use it.

There is a drug that can do this, 2-Deoxy-D-glucose, or 2-DG, but the Salford team have done a lot of work with vitamin C, and knew that to be at least 10 times more effective. When they combined it with Doxycycline it proved to be 100 times more effective. 


Berberine and other compounds also have strong effects

“This is further evidence that Vitamin C and other non-toxic compounds may have a role to play in the fight against cancer”, according to Lisanti.
“Our results indicate it is a promising agent for clinical trials, and as an add-on to more conventional therapies, to prevent tumour recurrence, further disease progression and metastasis.”
The researchers have identified a further eight other compounds that could be used as a “second-punch” after the antibiotic regime, including berberine and a number of cheap drugs that could be repurposed to fight cancer.
Chris Woollams, former Oxford University Biochemist and founder of CANCERactive added, “I love this sort of thinking. I always remember a top British oncologist telling me that his team could ‘crack cancer’ tomorrow, if they didn’t have to waste so much time researching poorly performing drugs!
We have told readers about ‘Repurposing old drugs’ several times before. There are over 60 drugs created to treat other illnesses, but which have known potential benefits against cancer.
Doxycycline was one of those drugs. Lisanti and others have conducted previous research (2) that showed a number of drugs had ‘side-effects’ which would restrict Cancer Stem Cells’ metabolism, and across a number of cell lines from breast to brain cancers. They particularly emphasized doxycycline.
However, as a researcher myself, I do have a word of caution here. I am always concerned that antibiotics screw up your microbiome. Doxycycline is no exception. And there is research (3) showing that for people with colorectal cancer (CRC), the drug can make matters worse, causing heightened gut inflammation and increasing metastases. There is also research with Mye;oma, Leukemia and lymphoma showing Doxycycline makes yeast infection and toxic load more likely. Sorry to be alarmist, but I think people with CRC should avoid the drug. I know the research used very high doses but just be careful. For the blood and lymph cancers, it would be appropriate to take yeast-killers like oregano oil, caprylic acid and pau d'arco and thus stop their debilatating effects”




2017 Research
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