Cheap, 'safe' drug kills most cancers
* Updated 16:37 12 December 2007
* NewScientist.com news service
* Andy Coghlan
New Scientist has received an unprecedented amount of interest in this story from readers. If you would like up-to-date information on any plans for clinical trials of DCA in patients with cancer, or would like to donate towards a fund for such trials, please visit the site set up by the University of Alberta and the Alberta Cancer Board. We will also follow events closely and will report any progress as it happens.
It sounds almost too good to be true: a cheap and simple drug that kills almost all cancers by switching off their “immortality”. The drug, dichloroacetate (DCA), has already been used for years to treat rare metabolic disorders and so is known to be relatively safe.
It also has no patent, meaning it could be manufactured for a fraction of the cost of newly developed drugs.
Evangelos Michelakis of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and his colleagues tested DCA on human cells cultured outside the body and found that it killed lung, breast and brain cancer cells, but not healthy cells. Tumours in rats deliberately infected with human cancer also shrank drastically when they were fed DCA-laced water for several weeks.
DCA attacks a unique feature of cancer cells: the fact that they make their energy throughout the main body of the cell, rather than in distinct organelles called mitochondria. This process, called glycolysis, is inefficient and uses up vast amounts of sugar.
Until now it had been assumed that cancer cells used glycolysis because their mitochondria were irreparably damaged. However, Michelakis’s experiments prove this is not the case, because DCA reawakened the mitochondria in cancer cells. The cells then withered and died (Cancer Cell, DOI: 10.1016/j.ccr.2006.10.020).
Michelakis suggests that the switch to glycolysis as an energy source occurs when cells in the middle of an abnormal but benign lump don’t get enough oxygen for their mitochondria to work properly (see diagram). In order to survive, they switch off their mitochondria and start producing energy through glycolysis.
Crucially, though, mitochondria do another job in cells: they activate apoptosis, the process by which abnormal cells self-destruct. When cells switch mitochondria off, they become “immortal”, outliving other cells in the tumour and so becoming dominant. Once reawakened by DCA, mitochondria reactivate apoptosis and order the abnormal cells to die.
“The results are intriguing because they point to a critical role that mitochondria play:
they impart a unique trait to cancer cells that can be exploited for cancer therapy,” says Dario Altieri, director of the University of Massachusetts Cancer Center in Worcester.
The phenomenon might also explain how secondary cancers form. Glycolysis generates lactic acid, which can break down the collagen matrix holding cells together. This means abnormal cells can be released and float to other parts of the body, where they seed new tumours.
DCA can cause pain, numbness and gait disturbances in some patients, but this may be a price worth paying if it turns out to be effective against all cancers. The next step is to run clinical trials of DCA in people with cancer. These may have to be funded by charities, universities and governments: pharmaceutical companies are unlikely to pay because they can’t make money on unpatented medicines. The pay-off is that if DCA does work, it will be easy to manufacture and dirt cheap.
Paul Clarke, a cancer cell biologist at the University of Dundee in the UK, says the findings challenge the current assumption that mutations, not metabolism, spark off cancers. “The question is: which comes first?” he says.
Cancer - Learn more about one of the world’s biggest killers in our comprehensive special report.
Our country won't ever make this available. I read that they can't get a patent on it because it's already a drug that's used for something else (besides cancer) - ergo, no money to be made on it - at least not nearly as much that can be made without using it. I used to believe that the ACS was to be trusted - but I've learned too much about it to believe that anymore. Cancer is HUGE money & it's top execs make multi million dollar salaries & get multi million dollar yearly bonuses - for a non-profit, they seem to be making out pretty well. The ACS is so neatly tied up with Big Pharma it's frightening.
I have an article here somewhere, that claims that ground up apricot pits also wipe out cancer - vitamin 14 or 17 or something. Can't recall what they called the final 'product' - but people go to other countries for it.
Laetrile, I believe was the spelling of the apricot drug that FDA threw out. The ACS also has at least one board member who is a chemical company board member.
If your doctor will write a script for DCA, the compounding pharmacy in Perrysburg can make it, as can any "compounding" pharmacy. Its not candy, its meedicine, and has side effects that must be monitored carefully with a doctors cooperations. Make sure you find one who actually gives a shit. Hopefully it could help someone avoid the worst side effect of all, which is dropping dead for no good reason except that the state believes that young naive people are better for production and fighting wars. They respond to fear better, and don't argue against authority, they haven't been around long enough to know what is killing them.
You can kill as many people as you want in a fascist state as long as its for production. Ohio EPA made that clear again on the RUSSIAN STEEL PLANT they just issued a pollution permit to. It will be built in Portsmouth Ohio. It will dump 1800 pounds of mercury into the air every year. On contact with water vapor or water , it turns to methyl mercury, and is 1000 times more toxic to our children's brains. So really its like 1,800,000 lbs of mercury. Isn't it nice that they will deliver it to our childrens brains in an invisible aerosol !! Easy to breath in too, no harsh aftertaste.
If this drug is efficacious then it will be offered, patent or not. DCA's patent has run out, but that doesn't mean it goes of the market. Just look at how many medications are generic (no longer patent protected): aspirin, simvastatin, ACE inhibitors, diuretics, metformin, etc, etc, etc. These drugs are still on the market, and they are still making money. DCA can make money, and if it is effective at treating cancer then it will be prescribed. The cost of a drug is a major consideration when doctors prescribe (at least among most), and an effective and inexpensive drug would be prescribed like crazy.
Not so HeyHey, try to get an oncologist to perscribe a drug for cancer that hasn't been through trials for cancer. Its very difficult.
That's why I started my comment by saying, "If this drug is efficacious...." It's got to be tested just like any other drug has to be tested. And it is evidently currently being tested in Canada. If those tests are positive then you'll see a slew of studies come aboard to study it further. The amount of research that will be required to get FDA approval for cancer (although FDA approval for cancer is not needed as it can be prescribed off-label by any MD) is much, much less than a new drug since we already know how it acts in the body. Essentially, Phase I trials for DCA were completed years ago. Phase II trials (which focus on effectiveness in a small group of patients) could be done for relatively cheaply. Phase III trials would be hard to come by without Big Pharmaceutical's help, but if enough "phase II" trials are undertaken then you'll see it being used more commonly.
The doc who found out how this worked on human tumors in rats tried for 2 years to get the drug co's to fund trials , they all refused. So he went to the people, finally, and they gave him enough money to start a brain tumor trial. Other people are doing it on their own at www.thedcasite.com all it takes is trying to get a doc to have the balls to write the script.
You can wait for the red tape to slowly unstick or you can take full responsibility for your own health and enjoy a lot more options and possibly save a lot of time and hassle.