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Promising cancer treatment or hoax? The "other" DCA
Old 02-12-2007, 08:13 AM   #1
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Promising cancer treatment or hoax? The "other" DCA

Nope---not "Dollar Cost Averging"

Has anyone here seen anything definitive concerning the use of Dichloroacetate (DCA) to treat cancer? Supposedly this drug, which has been on the market for years as a treatment for various metabolic disorders, was recently studied by researchers in Canada and found to have some very promising characteristics fo treating cancers. As the (undoubtedly oversimplified) explanation goes, cancer cells don't use the cell's mitochondria to produce energy (as normal ces do). Since one function ofthe mitochondria s to produce spontaneous cell death, this is one reason some cancer cells are virtualy immortal. The cancer cells apparently use a different, less efficient metabolic mechanism in the larger cell body. I've read two explanations for how the drug works- it either inhibits the metabolic pathway being used by the cancer cells and thereby kills them, or it turns on the dormant mitochondria in the cancer cells, allowing the mitochondria to produce the normal cell death (apoptosis). According to the internet articles, this DCA drug won't be pursued by pharmaceutical companies since the patent long ago expired and there's no money to be made from it. This sounds like another conspiracy tale (like the 100 mpg carbuerator that "big oil" is keeping from us). I'd bet that if this stuff really works, somebody will find a way to make a buck off it (say, by coming up with a novel, more effective delivery method, mixing it with something else that makes it even more effective or better tolerated by the patient, etc).

Anyway, hope springs eternal in the cancer treatment area. There's a link below with more info. Like every sensible person, I'm extremely sceptical of new cancer wonder treatments, but this one seems to have a lttle more backing than most. Even if there's something to it, practical application would be years away. Meanwhile, I'll bet the DCA clinics are already springing up in Tijuana.,_s...l_cancer_cells

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Re: Promising cancer treatment or hoax? The "other" DCA
Old 02-12-2007, 11:12 AM   #2
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Re: Promising cancer treatment or hoax? The "other" DCA

So, I fear that the DCA story is being blown out of proportion, no matter how promising the animal experiments appear to be. Note in Figure 8A of the Michelakis paper that DCA does not completely cure the animals, but reduces tumor growth by about 60 or 70%. It is impressive that DCA does cause reduction in tumor bulk after tumors are allowed to form, but we are many, many steps away from a human treatment.

Also, no one really seems to be paying attention to the fact the DCA is known liver carcinogen in rats and mice, possibly in the ballpark of concentrations necessary for effects in the Michelakis paper. (EPA and NIEHS have been interested in negative health effects of DCA since it is a by-product of municipal water chlorination where it ends up being a concentrations far too low to be either beneficial or dangerous).
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