At present, chemotherapy is still one of the most effective and leading treatment methods to help fight cancer. However, as much as it has helped so many people get their life back by curing them from the deadly disease, there are still cases that fail.

The main cause of this is because the tumors that develop once chemotherapy has begun starts to develop resistance against anticancer drugs, rendering the treatment ineffective.

Now, a recent study has revealed that vitamin D may just be the solution we need to finally overcome this problem and develop a better treatment method for cancer.

How vitamin D can help cancer treatment

The researchers, who are from South Dakota State University in Brookings, recently demonstrated that two active forms of vitamin D, namely calcipotriol and calcitriol, can reportedly stop a drug transporter protein that lets the cancer cells to become drug resistant. This protein is called a multidrug resistance-associated protein 1 (MRP1) and sits in the cell wall while driving a so-called “pump” that pushes anti-cancer drugs out of the cell, rendering them ineffective.

Through the demonstration, the researchers were able to show that both forms of vitamin D can find cancer cells that have too much of this protein and destroy them before they spread.

"Several epidemiologic and preclinical studies show the positive effect of vitamin D in reducing cancer risk and progression, but we are the first to discover its interaction with drug transporter protein and its ability to selectively kill drug-resistant cancer cells,” said Surtaj Hussain Iram, Ph.D., the study author of a recent Drug Metabolism and Disposition paper about the findings. Iram is also an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at South Dakota State University .

Iram then explained that both calcitriol and calcipotriol have no ability to kill naïve cancer cells, since these have not yet developed chemoresistance. However, once they become drug resistant, the two forms of vitamin D would immediately identify them and kill them.

Moving forward, Iram and his team wish to continue the research and said that their findings also have implications for the treatment of other types of diseases.