Canadian researchers find a simple cure for cancer, but major pharmaceutical companies are not interested.
Researchers at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Canada have cured cancer last week, yet there is a little ripple in the news or in TV. It is a simple technique using very basic drug. The method employs dichloroacetate, which is currently used to treat metabolic disorders. So, there is no concern of side effects or about their long term effects.
This drug doesn’t require a patent, so anyone can employ it widely and cheaply compared to the costly cancer drugs produced by major pharmaceutical companies.
Canadian scientists tested this dichloroacetate (DCA) on human’s cells; it killed lung, breast and brain cancer cells and left the healthy cells alone. It was tested on Rats inflicted with severe tumors; their cells shrank when they were fed with water supplemented with DCA. The drug is widely available and the technique is easy to use, why the major drug companies are not involved? Or the Media interested in this find?
In human bodies there is a natural cancer fighting human cell, the mitochondria, but they need to be triggered to be effective. Scientists used to think that these mitochondria cells were damaged and thus ineffective against cancer. So they used to focus on glycolysis, which is less effective in curing cancer and more wasteful. The drug manufacturers focused on this glycolysis method to fight cancer. This DCA on the other hand doesn’t rely on glycolysis instead on mitochondria; it triggers the mitochondria which in turn fights the cancer cells.
The side effect of this is it also reactivates a process called apoptosis. You see, mitochondria contain an all-too-important self-destruct button that can’t be pressed in cancer cells. Without it, tumors grow larger as cells refuse to be extinguished. Fully functioning mitochondria, thanks to DCA, can once again die.
With glycolysis turned off, the body produces less lactic acid, so the bad tissue around cancer cells doesn’t break down and seed new tumors.
Pharmaceutical companies are not investing in this research because DCA method cannot be patented, without a patent they can’t make money, like they are doing now with their AIDS Patent. Since the pharmaceutical companies won’t develop this, the article says other independent laboratories should start producing this drug and do more research to confirm all the above findings and produce drugs. All the groundwork can be done in collaboration with the Universities, who will be glad to assist in such research and can develop an effective drug for curing cancer.
You can access the original research for this cancer here.
This article wants to raise awareness for this study, hope some independent companies and small startup will pick up this idea and produce these drugs, because the big companies won’t touch it for a long time.
but also this:
17:39 16 May 2011Andy Coghlan, reporter
So, we hear news of a miraculous treatment for cancer. Disappointingly, the story is an old one which has somehow resurfacedon the blogosphere.When we originally published the story four years ago, it created a frenzy on the internet which took us by surprise. Our story reported a new type of treatment that in animal experiments showed promise of potentially being able to tackle most types of human cancer.We often report developments in cancer research, but nothing had ever attracted such a wave of interest. The drug involved, a simple molecule called dichloro-acetate, or DCA, appeared to work by blocking the unusual, sugar-gobbling mechanism called glycolysis by which most cancer cells generate their energy, and so which potentially marks them out from healthy cells.Exposed to DCA, cancer cells stopped making energy from sugar and resumed making it the way healthy cells do, in chambers called mitochondria. This stopped cancer cells from growing and multiplying, and caused them to wither and die instead.What added to the intrigue was that DCA is such a cheap, simple molecule that no-one has ever patented it. Also, it was already being used to treat rare mitochondrial diseases. Within weeks, patients were trying to get their own supplies of DCA, and some entrepreneurs set up websites to sell it, that were subsequently declared illegal and closed down by the US Food and Drug Administration.So what happened after the frenzy died down?The answer is that it was finally tested in five patients with aggressive brain cancer by Evangelos Michelakis of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, who had conducted the original experiments in animals.The results, published last year in Science Translational Medicine, revealed that it probably extended the lives of four of the patients, while one other died.Most importantly, Michelakis demonstrated from brain scans and biopsies that DCA appeared to work as he had predicted, arresting the growth of cancer cells by switching them back to normal energy production in mitochondria. The experiments also showed that beneficial effects took a few months to kick in. Importantly, Michelakis said that despite the small trial, it would be impossible to tell whether DCA works or not until it is tested in a placebo-controlled trial.As far as we know, no further trials have been conducted, so the jury is still out on whether it may do any good. We reported the new results in New Scientist and included news of other teams around the world developing treatments targeting glycolysis.Some other treatments that disrupt energy metabolism, such as the drug metformin taken by diabetics, were also showing signs of activity against cancer, for example. So for now, we are a little bit wiser about how DCA might work, but until someone does a much larger, well-organised trial, it would be unwise to assume that taking it will be safe or do any good.The more encouraging news is that other teams are now investigating the scope for targeting glycolysis, and although it could be a long haul to demonstrate whether any work, it does provide another avenue of attack against a disease which continues to push medicine to its limits.Any readers wanting to find out more about DCA may find this blog useful, posted by Cancer Research UK.There’s also an excellent blog by National Geographic which goes into even more detail.