Científicos descubren que células cancerígenas se hacen inmortales con vitamina C


Investigadores de la Universidad de Concepción en Chile han descubierto que las células cancerígenas satisfacen sus necesidades nutritivas y «se hacen inmortales» ingiriendo vitamina C reciclada, según afirmó la casa de estudios. La investigación fue publicada en la revista Free Radical Biology and Medicine.

Se trata de un mecanismo clave que esas células utilizan para sobrevivir, determinó el equipo, dirigido por la doctora Coralia Rivas y cuyo trabajo ha sido publicado recientemente por la prestigiosa revista


 –   [Accede aquí a la investigación completa]

Según la investigación, las células cancerígenas adquieren vitamina C oxidada (ácido deshidroascórbico o DHA), que se encuentra en altas concentraciones alrededor de tumores, la transporta a su interior y la convierte en vitamina C reducida, (AA, ácido ascórbico), que posee una función antioxidante.

«Descubrimos una característica inesperada de las células tumorales, que son capaces de acumular grandes cantidades de vitamina C en su interior, en comparación con las células normales«, declaró la doctora Rivas a la radio de la universidad.

«Probamos células tumorales provenientes de mamas, de próstata, de leucemia, y todas estas líneas celulares cumplían con esta característica«, subrayó la investigadora, para quien lo más importante es que ese mecanismo significa que la vitamina C, como es antioxidante, «estaría protegiendo a las células tumorales«.

Carola Muñoz, doctora en Ciencias Biológicas e integrante del equipo investigador, explicó en tanto que a diferencia de las células normales, las células tumorales tienen un transportador que toma esta vitamina C reducida y la lleva directo a la mitocondria (orgánulos encargados de suministrar la mayor parte de la energía necesaria para la actividad celular).

«Pensamos que es un mecanismo mediante el cual las células tumorales se hacen inmortales, a pesar de que estén rodeadas de señales oxidantes que, de otra forma, inducirían su muerte«, precisó.

El transportador, llamado SVCT2, «permitiría a la mitocondria del tumor trasladar la vitamina a su interior y, de esa forma, evitar la muerte de la célula cancerígena«, añadió Muñoz, que acotó que este transportador se sitúa dentro de la célula y no en la superficie, como era de esperar.

-Lo que se viene-

Para la doctora Rivas, el paso siguiente de la investigación es crear una solución farmacológica que inhiba el actuar de este método de transporte de la vitamina, lo que supone «continuar con la búsqueda de moléculas que puedan servir para bloquear el ingreso de vitamina C a la mitocondria«.

En esa línea, «el llamado no es a quitar la vitamina C de la dieta, sino que lo que hay que hacer es eliminar de la célula la capacidad para sobrevivir con ese mecanismo«, precisó Carola Muñoz.

La vitamina C «es un elemento fundamental para cualquier ser vivo, y en el caso de los humanos sí o sí debe estar en la dieta«, subrayó, y advirtió que al quitarla «más bien vas a causar una enfermedad sumamente complicada y vas a quedar desprotegido«.

Del descubrimiento, según Coralia Rivas, nace la posibilidad de crear nuevas terapias que busquen impedir la supervivencia de diferentes tipos de cáncer.

En Chile 62 personas mueren cada día a causa de algún tipo de cáncer, según datos oficiales, mientras en el Parlamento debate un proyecto que busca mejorar la financiación de los tratamientos contra esa enfermedad.

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