“Too many people I love and care for have died of cancer or trodden the path of a long, hard cancer journey,” says Dr Gabi Dachs, Research Associate Professor at the University of Otago Christchurch campus. “I’m trying to do good research to help cancer patients live longer and better with cancer,” she says as she focuses her investigations on Vitamin C and cancer survival.
“One day I want to give clinicians the information they need in order to advise patients on exactly how much Vitamin C they need to stay well, and potentially, help fight their cancer.”
Supported by the Cancer Research Trust NZ, Gabi is studying kidney cancer to try and understand whether saturating tumours with Vitamin C could disrupt the low oxygen environment where cancers can thrive.
This grant allows Gabi and her team to measure the cellular transporters that move Vitamin C from the circulation into cancer cells. For this, samples from patients with breast, bowel and kidney cancer will be studied.
“We’re putting science between the hype and reality around Vitamin C,” she said. “There’s so much misinformation out there about food and supplements and mega-doses of Vitamin C it’s hard to convince the research funders that the biochemistry is real, not just hand-waving, and that there may be an important link between Vitamin C and cancer survival.”
Gabi says we can all help ourselves in the fight against cancer by eating more healthily.
“Vitamin C is very beneficial to all of us, not just the critically ill. So, do yourself a favour and eat a balanced, broad diet,” she says. “I love my Gold Kiwifruit, broccoli, peppers and citrus fruit – and I love waking up each day doing what I’m doing to help people live good lives by unlocking the secrets to fight cancer.”
You can listen to Gabi and her colleagues, Professor Margreet Vissers and Dr Anitra Carr, talk in detail about their studies on Vitamin C here: