Vitamin c and antibiotics more effective than drugs at killing cancer cells


A new research has shown that vitamin c and antibiotics could be up to 100 times more effective at killing cancer cells than standard-of-care drugs.

Giving an antibiotic followed by vitamin c effectively starves cancer cells thereby resulting in their death in the lab, a study found. Vitamin c and the antibiotic given, known as doxycycline, are both relatively non-toxic and could therefore dramatically reduce the side effects of existing treatments, the researchers said.

Researchers from the University of Salford gave cancer cells increasing doses of the antibiotic doxycycline over three months. They then gave the cells vitamin C, which restricts their energy source to just glucose. This kept the cells alive but very weak. Vitamin C does this by inhibiting most of the cells’ energy-making processes.

The researchers then took away glucose, resulting in the cells’ starvation. The results which were published in the journal Oncotarget, revealed that when vitamin C is given with doxycycline it is nearly 100 times more effective than standard-of-care drugs at killing cancer cells.

This follows a research by the University of Salford back in March that found vitamin C alone is up to 10 times more effective at stopping cancer cell growth than drugs.

The researchers added that since doxycycline and vitamin C are both relatively non-toxic, the findings could dramatically reduce the possible side effects of cancer treatment.

Professor Lisbanti said: “This is further evidence that vitamin C and other non-toxic compounds may have a role to play in the fight against cancer.

“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.”


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Joan Obasi is a journalism intern working with in Lagos, Nigeria. She covers developments in the healthcare sector. She can be reached via