High levels of vitamin C kill certain kinds of colorectal cancers in cell cultures and mice, according to a new study from Weill Cornell Medicine investigators. The findings suggest that scientists might` one day harness vitamin C to develop targeted treatments. Colorectal cancer is the third most-common cancer diagnosed in the United States, with approximately 93,090 new cases each year. About half of those cases harbor mutations in the KRAS and BRAF genes; these forms of the disease are more aggressive and don't respond well to current therapies or chemotherapy. In a new study, published onlie on November 5, 2015 in an open-acces article in Science, a team of researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Tufts Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, and The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center found that high doses of vitamin C (roughly equivalent to the levels found in 300 oranges) impaired the growth of KRAS-mutant and BRAF-mutant colorectal tumors in cultured cells and mice. The findings could lead to the development of new treatments and provide critical insights into who would most benefit from them. The Science article is titled “Vitamin C Selectively Kills KRAS and BRAF Mutant Colorectal Cancer Cells by Targeting GAPDH.” "Our findings provide a mechanistic rationale for exploring the therapeutic use of vitamin C to treat colorectal cancers that carry KRAS or BRAF mutations," said senior author Dr. Lewis Cantley, the Meyer Director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center and the Margaret and Herman Sokol Professor in Oncology Research at Weill Cornell Medicine. The conventional wisdom is that vitamin C improves health, in part because it can act as an antioxidant, preventing or delaying some types of cell damage. However, Dr.
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