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Investigating the effect of vitamin C in bowel cancer

By Gabi Dachs and Dr Elisabeth Phillips

Gabi Dachs and Elisabeth Phillips have been funded $78,889 to support their research.

Associate Professor Gabi Dachs and Dr Elisabeth Phillips, University of Otago (Christchurch)

Investigating the effect of vitamin C in bowel cancer

Recent intriguing discoveries have focused attention on the role of vitamin C in cancer progression and treatment. It is now well established that vitamin C is essential for a number of cellular functions, which in turn impact functions such as mood stability and tumour aggression.

However, it is evident that not all molecular pathways important for cancer progression that depend on vitamin C have been identified.

The researchers will supplement bowel cancer cell lines (cells which have been cultured in the laboratory) with vitamin C. They will then identify and quantify the proteins that changed in cancer cells that were grown with vitamin C and compare these to proteins from cancer cells that were not exposed to vitamin C. These results will enable the researchers in future to identify proteins in patient samples.

How will it help people affected by cancer?

Identifying the molecular pathways associated with vitamin C in cancer will help us understand the potential role of vitamin C in cancer treatment. In particular it will provide data around the role of vitamin C in people with cancers.