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Scientists Cure Cancer, But No One Takes Notice
Money Trends Research ^

Posted on 03/20/2012 6:26:50 PM PDT by CactusCarlos

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 recently cured cancer, yet there is but little ripple in the news or on TV. It is a simple technique using a very basic drug. The method employs dichloroacetate, which is currently used to treat metabolic disorders, so there is no concern of side effects or other long term effects.

The 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.

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Canadian scientists tested dichloroacetate (DCA) on human 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, but why are the major drug companies not involved, or the media not interested in this find?

In human cells there is a natural cancer fighting organelle, the mitochondria, but it needs to be triggered in order to be effective. Scientists used to think that the mitochondria of cancerous cells were damaged and thus ineffective. They used to focus on glycolysis, which is less effective in fighting cancer and wasteful. The drug manufacturers focused on the glycolysis method to fight cancer. DCA treatment on the other hand doesn’t rely on glycolysis but instead on reactivating the mitochondria; which allows the cell to die and preventing the cancer from spreading.

This reactivation is a process called apoptosis. You see, mitochondria contain an all-too-important self-destruct button that cannot 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 allow them to 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, and without a patent they cannot make money. They’re currently making fortunes with their AIDS patent. Since the pharmaceutical companies won’t develop DCA drugs, independent laboratories should start researching DCA more to confirm all of the above findings and begin producing drugs. All of 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.

This article hopes to raise more awareness of dichloroacetate, and to hopefully inspire some independent companies and small startups to pick up on this idea and begin producing life-saving drugs… because the big companies won’t be touching it for a long time.

TOPICS: Health/Medicine; Science
KEYWORDS: cancer; dca; dichloroacetate; health; medicine
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To: factoryrat
"Assuming an aspiring scientist finds a cure for cancer, where's the money in it for the drug companies? They stand to make more profit treating an illness than curing it; a captive audience so to speak. They need diseases to treat with their products, not a cure."

Who cares? There's obviously a demand for a cure for cancer. If existing drug companies don't want it somebody else will. It's not all up to drug companies.

21 posted on 03/20/2012 6:58:13 PM PDT by mlo
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To: CactusCarlos
Dichloroacetate and cancer

Category: Science
Posted on: May 16, 2011 10:02 AM, by PZ Myers

So many people have sent me this sensationalistic article, "Scientists cure cancer, but no one takes notice", that I guess I have to respond. I sure wish it were true, but you should be able to tell from how poorly it is written and the ridiculous inaccuracies (mitochondria are cells that fight cancers?) that you should be suspicious. The radical, exaggerated claims make the truth of the story highly unlikely.

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.

The simple summary is this: that claim is a lie. There have been no clinical trials of dichloroacetate (DCA) in cancer patients, so there is no basis for claiming they have a cure; some, but not all, cancers might respond in promising ways to the drug, while others are likely to be resistant (cancer is not one disease!); and there are potential neurotoxic side effects, especially when used in conjunction with other chemotherapies.

So we have one popular account that is badly written and makes exaggerated claims. There is also a university press release, the source for the sloppy popular account, that doesn't contain the egregious stupidities but does tend to inflate basic research studies into an unwarranted clinical significance. And then, of course, there are the actual peer reviewed papers that describe the research and rationale, and also the reservations, on DCA. It's like a game of telephone: you can actually trace the account from the sober science paper to the enthusiastic press release to the web account with its extravagant claims of a simple, cheap cure for cancer, and see how the story is gradually corrupted. It would be funny if the final result wasn't going to dupe a lot of desperate people.

But there is a germ of truth to the story, in that DCA does have potential. Here's how it works.

There are two major pathways that we use to extract energy from sugar. One is glycolysis, which extracts two ATP molecules from each molecule of sugar, and doesn't require oxygen. Then there is glucose oxidation, which as you might guess from the name, does require oxygen, but which takes the byproducts of glycolysis and burns them completely to produce 36 ATP. So there's the tradeoff: if your cells are oxygen-starved, or hypoxic, they can still get energy from sugar, but it's relatively inefficient, but if they do have access to oxygen, they can extract much more. This is why you breathe, and why your heart beats, and why you have an elaborate circulatory system to deliver oxygenated blood to your tissues: without oxygen, you suffer a catastrophic hit to the efficiency of energy production.


Another feature of these two energy-producing pathways is that they are in different cellular compartments. Glycolysis takes place in the cytoplasm, while glucose oxidation occurs in the mitochondria. There is a gate-keeping enzyme, pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK), that regulates the flow of pyruvate, a product of the glycolysis pathway, into the mitochondria for oxidation. If PDK is active, it suppresses the transport of pyruvate into the mitochondria, and the cell is forced to rely on glycolysis, even if oxygen is available. If PDK is inactivated, pyruvate is shuttled into the mitochondria, even if oxygen is low.

This is where DCA comes in. DCA inhibits PDK, forcing cells to use the more efficient form of energy production. That sounds like a strange way to make a cancer cell uncomfortable, but the other factor here is that mitochondria are primary regulators of apoptosis, or cell suicide. They are loaded with sensors and enzymes that react to abnormalities in the cell (like being cancerous!) by activating a self-destruct mechanism. Shut down the mitochondra, you shut down the self-destruct mechanism that polices the cell. So the idea is a little indirect: by goosing the mitochondria, we also wake up the safety switch that, if all goes well, will cause the cell to spontaneously kill itself.

There are good reasons to think this might work. Many cancer cells arise in hypoxic environments; a poorly vascularized tumor, for instance, is going to be oxygen starved in the absence of blood flow, and the inhibition of mitochondria may be a factor in their survival. There is a well-known phenomenon called the Warburg effect, in which cancer cells will rely on glycolysis even when oxygen is available, suggesting that they have suppressed their mitochondria.

DCA also seems like a relatively safe drug. It's been used for a long time in patients with metabolic disorders, or with metabolic side effects from other problems.

A large number of children and adults have been exposed to DCA over the past 40 years, including healthy volunteers and subjects with diverse disease states. Since its first description in 1969, DCA has been studied to alleviate the symptoms or the haemodynamic consequences of the lactic acidosis complicating severe malaria, sepsis, congestive heart failure, burns, cirrhosis, liver transplantation and congenital mitochondrial diseases. Single-arm and randomised trials of DCA used doses ranging from 12.5 to 100 mg kg-1 day-1 orally or intravenously). Although DCA was universally effective in lowering lactate levels, it did not alter the course of the primary disease (for example sepsis).

This is encouraging. It means there is a body of work already published on the effects of DCA, which should simplify the process of moving it into clinical trials. The authors, however, very clearly indicate that it won't be a magic bullet affecting all cancers, but that some are likely candidates.

Dichloroacetate could be tested in a variety of cancer types. The realisation that (i) a diverse group of signalling pathways and oncogenes result in resistance to apoptosis and a glycolytic phenotype, (ii) the majority of carcinomas have hyperpolarised/ remodeled mitochondria, and (iii) most solid tumours have increased glucose uptake on PET imaging, suggest that DCA might be effective in a large number of diverse tumours. However, direct preclinical evidence of anticancer effects of DCA has been published only with non-small cell lung cancer, glioblastoma and breast, endometrial and prostate cancer. In addition, the lack of mitochondrial hyperpolarisation in certain types of cancer, including oat cell lung cancer, lymphomas, neuroblastomas and sarcomas, suggest that DCA might not be effective in such cases. Cancers with limited or no meaningful therapeutic options like recurrent glioblastoma or advanced lung cancer should be on top of the list of cancers to be studied.

Notice that the only work done so far is preclinical: that means it has been tested in mouse models, tissue culture, but hasn't really been tried in cancer patients yet. The authors come right out and say that, express some possible reservations about its effectiveness, and suggest what needs to be done next.

No patient with cancer has received DCA within a clinical trial. It is unknown whether previously studied dose ranges will achieve cytotoxic intra-tumoral concentrations of DCA. In addition, the overall nutritional and metabolic profile of patients with advanced cancer differs from those in the published DCA studies. Furthermore, pre-exposure to neurotoxic chemotherapy may predispose to DCA neurotoxicity. Carefully performed phase I dose escalation and phase II trials with serial tissue biopsies are required to define the maximally tolerated, and biologically active dose. Clinical trials with DCA will need to carefully monitor neurotoxicity and establish clear dose-reduction strategies to manage toxicities. Furthermore, the pharmacokinetics in the cancer population will need to be defined.

Do not rush out and buy DCA and gurgle it down as a cancer preventative. We don't know that it works — the safe concentrations for you may not be sufficient to kill any cancer cells, and the concentrations needed to kill cancer cells may be so high that it will do horrible, unpredicted, and dangerous things to you (some work with patients with congenital mitochondrial disorders also revealed some degree of peripheral neuropathy, for instance). This is why we have clinical trials: to work out safe and effective doses, look for dangerous interactions with other drugs — and if you have cancer, you're already on a complicated cocktail of drugs — and detect unexpected side effects.

We should be urging further investigation of this promising drug with the beginning of clinical trials, but it's far too early to be babbling about "cancer cures". There have been lots of drugs that look great in the lab and have excellent rationales for why they should work, but the reality of cancer is that it is complicated and diverse and there are many more pitfalls between a drug that poisons cancer cells in a petri dish and a drug that actually works well in the more complex environment of a human being.

One other factor that inflames the conspiracy nuts over this drug is that DCA is simple, dirt-cheap, and completely unpatentable — there is no economic incentive for a pharmaceutical company to invest a gigantic bucket of money in clinical trials, because there is no hope for a return on the investment.

This is why an independent academic community with research funded for knowledge rather than profit is so important, and really emphasizes why we cannot afford to privatize all biomedical research. The authors propose a plan for progressing without the involvement of the pharmaceutical industry.

Funding for such trials would be a challenge for the academic community as DCA is a generic drug and early industry support might be limited. Fundraising from philanthropies might be possible to support early phase I - II or small phase III trials. However, if these trials suggest a favourable efficacy and toxicity, the public will be further motivated to directly fund these efforts and national cancer organisations like the NCI, might be inspired to directly contribute to the design and structure of larger trials. It is important to note that even if DCA does not prove to be the 'dawn of a new era', initiation and completion of clinical trials with a generic compound will be a task of tremendous symbolic and practical significance. At this point the 'dogma' that trials of systemic anticancer therapy cannot happen without industry support, suppresses the potential of many promising drugs that might not be financially attractive for pharmaceutical manufacturers. In that sense, the clinical evaluation of DCA, in addition to its scientific rationale, will be by itself another paradigm shift.

I can't blame the industry for not following up on this: a clinical trial costs millions of dollars, and even if DCA pans out, there is no profit at all to be gained from it. For this research, we have to turn to public support (they have an interest in better cancer treatments!) and to scientists and doctors themselves, who of course have a great personal interest in seeing their patients get better.

22 posted on 03/20/2012 7:01:28 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Government is the religion of the sociopath.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

If there is a huge jump in sales for DCA, we’ll know it is true!

23 posted on 03/20/2012 7:07:00 PM PDT by Randy Larsen (No Romney vote from my family!)
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To: CactusCarlos
The 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....

If this was in any way true, big pharma would miss out on bazillions of "cure / treatment" profit/dollars. What are the odds of that?

24 posted on 03/20/2012 7:07:31 PM PDT by MamaDearest
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

“In 2010, it was found that for human colorectal tumours grown in mice, under hypoxic conditions, DCA decreased rather than increased apoptosis, resulting in enhanced growth of the tumours.

“These findings suggest that at least in some cancer types DCA treatment could be detrimental to patient health, highlighting the need for further testing before it can be considered a safe and effective cancer treatment.”

“At sustained, higher doses(generally 25 mg/kg/day taken orally, or greater), there is increased risk of several reversible toxicities, especially peripheral neuropathy, neurotoxicity, and gait disturbance. Studies have also shown that it can be carcinogenic at high doses.”

And we know that they have been telling us the WHOLE TRUTH about Obama also...

25 posted on 03/20/2012 7:09:07 PM PDT by know-the-law
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To: CactusCarlos

Yeah, that sounds legit. They didn’t find a promising treatment for a certain type of cancer. Nope, they simply cancered. All of it. All 5,000 diseases lumped together as cancer. Next up, they’ll arrive at outer space.

26 posted on 03/20/2012 7:24:11 PM PDT by dangus
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To: CactusCarlos
A”cure” for cancer doesn't exist, there are only treatments to keep it at bay. I've read of numerous alternative therapies for cancer, some with a lot of promise, such as natural anti-inflammatories like curcumin in high dosage (hard to do via ingestion), and several others. No one would qualify these as a cure and this certainly isn't.

There were two that especially caught my interest several years ago, those being copper reduction therapy and arteminsinin. Copper reduction can induce dangerous levels of anemia, and is therefore nothing to trifle with, but does show benefit in tumor reduction. Arteminsinin, wormwood basically, is toxic in it's own right with some hair raising side effects, but aids in targeting iron rich tumors. Researchers have paired it with an older chemo agent, doxorubicin, and found that the two have a synergistic effect.

These are in human trials. DCA on the other hand, is one of those frequent “promising in mice” things that never panned out, as far as I know. It rears it's head every couple of years, as some earnest, desperate person madly Googling finds it, finds hope in misinterpreting the success in rodent trials as being a sure thing, and off to the races it goes again.

I'd love for there to be a simple, actual cure for cancer, cancer's a real *itch. But there's not one.

27 posted on 03/20/2012 7:32:51 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: darth

“Had it been me, I would have purchased the chemo drug as a lab grade organic chemical and dosed myself.”

We had a local doctor a few years back who was using weed killer to treat cancer patients. After he was arrested some of his patients defended him, saying it worked.

28 posted on 03/20/2012 7:34:51 PM PDT by Heart of Georgia
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To: mlo

“Somebody else will”.

Who is that somebody else?

Where are they going to get the resources to research and develop a cure?

The universities? No, too much grant money at stake.

The hospitals? No, too much money in administering treatments.

The doctors? No, too much money in diagnosis and treatment.

The government? No, too much money to be made as a parasite feeding off of all of the above.

About the only individuals that I can see willing to back a cure for cancer are the insurance companies. They’re the only ones other than yourself and your loved ones who will profit and have a vested interest in keeping you alive. If you’re looking for a group to finance the research to provide a cure, the insurance companies are the people you want to talk to.

29 posted on 03/20/2012 7:37:22 PM PDT by factoryrat (We are the producers, the creators. Grow it, mine it, build it.)
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To: MamaDearest
“If this was in any way true, big pharma would miss out on bazillions of “cure / treatment” profit/dollars. What are the odds of that? “

Do you guys really believe that most physicians would let a cure for cancer go unused? Even if all the scientists and physicians working for pharma were part of a big pharma conspiracy, do you think all other physicians and scientists would go along with it? Even if you strictly use self-interest as the only determinant of human behavior, the personal gain in fame alone for being the first to find a ‘cure’ would be enormous.

If I thought that wearing garlic around my neck and dancing the Watusi naked at the patient’s bedside would lead to a cure I'd do it, as would most docs. The conspiracy would have to be immense to purposefully hide a cure. The fact is that lots of cheap therapies have, over the years, replaced expensive profitable treatments - like antibiotics for H. pylori to treat ulcers - instead of expensive surgery.

Do I think that simple treatments could be overlooked because of a bias against what appear to be unconventional or overly simplistic therapies? Absolutely. I doubt that it's common, but sometimes the simple things can get overlooked.

I have no idea whether or not the approach in this article has any validity. I'm a big fan of anything that works - especially for heartbreaking diseases like cancer.

30 posted on 03/20/2012 7:40:32 PM PDT by pieceofthepuzzle
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To: darth
Obama’s Healthcare Deform is how he intends to kill off us Kulaks. No NKVD necessary; they just squeeze off the funds for areas of the country and demographics that don’t vote his way.
Didn't the Hammer try that in the Ukraine? Death Panels are just a variation on the theme.

Don’t go quietly.
Not likely.

31 posted on 03/20/2012 7:45:59 PM PDT by Publius6961 (“It’s easy to make phony promises you can’t keep.” - Obama, Feb23, 2012)
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To: LadyPilgrim


32 posted on 03/20/2012 7:47:52 PM PDT by LadyPilgrim ((Lifted up was He to die; It is finished was His cry; Hallelujah what a Savior!!!!!! ))
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To: gaijin

You are correct - apoptosis is the natural programmed death of a cell. Cells should copy themselves about 2 dozen times and then be replaced. If they aren’t the opposite happens - metastasis. Think of copyping a picture, then copying that copy and repeating it a few times. Thing get blurry. In a not very different way, that’s what happens with cells.
My own research and personal experience - ortho-iodine supplementation works wonders!

33 posted on 03/20/2012 7:48:00 PM PDT by 68stanger (If you are interested in time travel, meet me last Thursday)
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To: CactusCarlos
I believe this was posted here a long time ago, maybe a couple years ago. Nothing about it since. Now, it surfaces as if it were news. Something flunks the smell test here.
34 posted on 03/20/2012 7:53:26 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: CactusCarlos
Apoptosis is actually cell death, and triggering it has been the holy grail of cancer research for a very long time now. I won't refuse to believe the author based on evidence I haven't seen, but he or she isn't at all strong on basic cellular biology.

On the broader topic of a conspiracy by Big Pharma to suppress easy cancer cures, I can only offer a simple observation based on the years I worked for two of them: they're populated by people, even in management (although sometimes I wondered), and those people and their loved ones get cancer just like everyone else.

35 posted on 03/20/2012 7:53:42 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: smoothsailing
Any day now some tree is going to come along and file a lawsuit.

You are quite the historian. Back in the early 1970's senile liberal weenie Justice William O. Douglas opined that one day he could envision trees acquiring standing to sue. Yes, he did say that. Never thought I'd see the day though...

36 posted on 03/20/2012 7:57:32 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: CactusCarlos

It will never make it to market. Obama and Sebilius only approved aspirin under ObamaCare.

37 posted on 03/20/2012 7:58:49 PM PDT by OrioleFan (Republicans believe every day is July 4th, Democrats believe every day is April 15th.)
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To: Figment

We own this movie. Because of it and other research. I consider the whole Pink ribbon thing a fraud. I donate nothing to cancer research. It’s a huge racket, as this article suggests.

38 posted on 03/20/2012 8:02:05 PM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: Figment

We own this movie. Because of it and other research. I consider the whole Pink ribbon thing a fraud. I donate nothing to cancer research. It’s a huge racket, as this article suggests.

The link:

39 posted on 03/20/2012 8:02:34 PM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: factoryrat
Assuming an aspiring scientist finds a cure for cancer, where's the money in it for the drug companies?

gee IDK. One time an aspiring scientist invented the light bulb. Where was the money in it for the electric companies?

Wake up, swee'pea. The real world awaits.

40 posted on 03/20/2012 8:02:59 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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