Vitamin C: It Could Soon be the New Treatment for Blood Cancer
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Vitamin C: It Could Soon be the New Treatment for Blood Cancer

News Staff — NYU Langone Health/NYU School of Medicine
Aug 24, 2017

"We're excited by the prospect that high-dose vitamin C might become a safe treatment for blood diseases caused by TET2-deficient leukemia stem cells.” – Dr. Benjamin G. Neel

(New York, NY) — Vitamin C may "tell" faulty stem cells in the bone marrow to mature and die normally, instead of multiplying to cause blood cancers. This is the finding of a study led by researchers from Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health, and published online August 17 in the journal Cell(Photo Credit: NYU LANGONE HEALTH)

Certain genetic changes are known to reduce the ability of an enzyme called TET2 to encourage stem cells to become mature blood cells, which eventually die, in many patients with certain kinds of leukemia, say the authors. The new study found that vitamin C activated TET2 function in mice engineered to be deficient in the enzyme. 

"We're excited by the prospect that high-dose vitamin C might become a safe treatment for blood diseases caused by TET2-deficient leukemia stem cells, most likely in combination with other targeted therapies," says corresponding study author Benjamin G. Neel, MD, PhD, professor in the Department of Medicine and director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center. 

Along with these diseases, new tests suggest that about 2.5 percent of all U.S. cancer patients - or about 42,500 new patients each year - may develop TET2 mutations, including some with lymphomas and solid tumors, say the authors. 

"Our team is working to systematically identify genetic changes that contribute to risk for leukemia in significant groups of patients," says corresponding author Iannis Aifantis, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Pathology at NYU Langone Health.

Click here to read this report in its entirety.

NYU Langone Health/NYU School of Medicine

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