Vitamin C Stops Cancer

More specifically, vitamin C may stop leukemia stem cells from multiplying, which could prevent certain forms of blood cancer from advancing, the journal Cell reveals,1 along with pancreatic, colon, liver and ovarian cancers, according to several other notable medical journals and scientific reports.

An enzyme known as Tet methylcytosine dioxygenase 2 (TET2) has the ability to make stem cells "morph" into mature, normal blood cells that will eventually expire like normal cells. Stem cells, the study explains, are "undifferentiated cells that have not yet gained a specific identity and function."2

This ability helps patients with some blood cancers, including acute and chronic leukemia, because their stem cells haven't been directed to mature, per se. The cancer cells can regenerate and "self-renew" over and over, subsequently blocking the body's ability to produce normal white blood cells, which everyone needs in their immune systems to fight infection; some scientists call them "faulty" cells.3

Scientists found that a 50 percent decrease in TET2 activity can be enough to induce cancer, but it must remain low for the disease to keep advancing. New Scientist says mutations in TET2 are involved in around 42,500 cancers in the U.S. a year.4 About 13,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with myeloid dysplastic syndrome (MDS, sometimes referred to as preleukemia) and about 20,000 are diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) every year.5

Lead author Luisa Cimmino, Ph.D. assistant professor in the department of pathology at New York University's Langone's Perlmutter Cancer Center, explained that some leukemia patients have a genetic mutation that decreases the TET2 enzyme in their bodies, to varying percentages:

  • AML — 10 percent
  • MDS — 30 percent
  • Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CML) — 50 percent

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