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DCA Update

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About two months ago I blogged several articles on a potential cancer cure called DCA. To date there has still been no start of an FDA-approved clinical trial so it looks like the conspiracy theorists were right – DCA is a common chemical that has no profit potential for big pharma so even though it shrunk several different types of human tumors in immuno-compromised rats 75% in 3 weeks with no adverse side effects, and even though it’s been used for decades in humans in treating chronic lactic acidosis so its safety was already well characterized in humans, no one will put up the hundreds of millions of dollars to test its efficacy as a chemotherapeutic for cancer.

Well, after reading my blog articles an average guy in California teamed up with a chemist at UC Berkeley with buku experience in the synthesis of FDA-approved cancer drugs and brought a pharmaceutical-grade formulation of NaDCA (sodium dichloroacetate) to market. It costs about $50 for a one month supply. Compare that to thousands of dollars for FDA-approved chemotherapeutics.

Desperate cancer patients sent home to die for lack of any further FDA-approved treatment for their advanced cancers have started reporting miraculous improvements. One man with bladder cancer who couldn’t even walk and whose weight was plummeting as his body was shutting down stopped losing weight after 2 weeks on DCA and after 4 weeks has gained 11 pounds and is not only walking again, he’s exercising and his bladder spasms have subsided. Another woman with a tumor on her spine, unable to walk because of it and told by her doctor she’d probably never walk again, is back on her feet after 5 days on DCA. And there’s one report of a cat rapidly using up the last bit of its ninth life from a huge abdominal tumor is now on the mend and feisty enough to shove the other cats aside to get to the food dish.

The reports so far are not concrete but it’s looking very promising. Visit The DCA Site and read about it if you’re interested. I’m very pleased that my small efforts in spreading the word about DCA has produced such a groundswell of activity which could potentially save very many lives.

mjb Small molecular size can be quite virtuous in a drug. Only small molecules can cross the blood/brain barrier and cancer is very often found in the brain both in primary tumors and even more often in metastases. DCA is small enough to cross that barrier to treat those tumors - tumors which are more frequently than solid tumors in other organs inoperable which compounds the value of small size in DCA. I'm sorry if this seems impolite but it's really nothing more than brevity in pointing out obvious deficiencies in your arguments. Either you don't know these things or you don't put enough thought into what you are writing in this regard. If you'd bothered to research the side effects of DCA in humans you'd find that over decades of use in trials for disease other than cancer it's about as toxic as aspirin in similarly weighted therapeutic doses and durations of use. In fact from what I've read the LD50 of DCA is a much greater quantity than aspirin. But even water is toxic if you take enough of it. DaveScot
Yeah, I thought that comment was unnecessary (You obviously have no knowledge of chemotherapy drugs). He wasn't being overly critical of what you were saying. And I think his concerns are valid: those side effects are undesirable. I also agree that the side effects of DCA do seem to be innocuous than chemo-therapies. Tedsenough
You obviously have no knowledge of chemotherapy drugs. Dave, I admittedly know more about small molecule pharmacology than chemotherapy drugs, per se. But perhaps you could be a bit more polite. Maybe I should have been clearer. I am not saying that chemotherapeutics do not have side effects. I said that it is generally undesirable for a drug to have the potential to act nonspecifically on a variety of cellular pathways. When I said side effects, I perhaps should have clarified that I meant cellular and molecular side effects rather than symptomatic side effects; chemotherapeutics tend to do exactly what they are desigend to do (ie kill cells), it's just that they aren't specific enough to the cancer cells. Perhaps the specificity of DCA in that regard truly outweighs any nonspecific effects it woudl have have on other pathways; I do not know. What I do know, and I will repeat, is that it is undesirable for a drug to be promiscuous and small molecules, especially in high quantities, tend to be just that. mjb2001
Tedsenough Actually the the bladder cancer patient's tumor didn't show up well on a PET scan. They didn't know the extent of the tumor until they cut him open and looked at it. Then they determined it was inoperable and closed him up. Re shutting off the glucose supply. Sure there's a way. It's called anti-angiogenic therapy. Basically blocking the formation of new blood vessels. Generally an adult can get by for a time barring injuries without building new blood vessels. Cells that are multiplying send out a chemical signal to trigger the growth of blood vessels. Cancer cells have to do the same thing. Blocking that mechanism halts their growth. It not only shunts glucose away but also everything else they need to survive and reproduce. Of course this causes the cancer tissue to become necrotic which can also kill you or make you very sick if there's enough of it rotting away. Speaking of cells that reproduce rapidly I read some interesting conjecture that cancer cells have lost the controlling mechanism of adult cells and have reverted to a fetal state where they continually reproduce. There's even some correlation between fetal tissue growth rate and tumor growth rate. DaveScot
Cancer cells are heavily dependent on glucose. Because the mitochondria aren't working (can't oxidize glucose), the cancer cells don't have an efficient way to break down sugar to energize cellular processes. Because of this cancer cells use an incredibly inefficient process of glycolysis. Because this process is so inefficient the cancer cells need huge amounts of glucose to maintain cellular functions. Do a PET scan and you can recognize cancer cells easily.... they're the ones absorbing glucose like crazy. Isn't there a way that glucose could be shunted away from these cells? You'd think even a slight reduction in the amount of glucose available to these cells would cause them to whither and die. If something requires such an elevated level of sustenance to maintain basic functions, wouldn't even slightly disturbing this process have fatal effects on these cells? Tedsenough
dodgingcars wrote @ 2 Personally, I’m glad the FDA exists. People are always touting cures (Noni Juice, etc) for cancer and everything else. And.. of course.. most of the time they are false claims made by people trying to scam desparate people. The FDA exists for a reason. Rezulin. Fen-phen. Vioxx. Celebrex. While I'm not a big fan of voodoo dolls and acupuncture, I wouldn't jump on the "government knows best" bandwagon either. angryoldfatman
mjb2001 Compared to all other chemotherapies the adverse effects of DCA are nothing. It doesn't make you sick, it doesn't make your hair fall out... nothing. Children with chronic lactic acidosis have been given DCA for up to two years and even for that long (cancer treatment lasts only weeks) the only side effects were mild reversible peripheral neuropathy (tingling in extremities that goes away when you stop taking it). You obviously have no knowledge of chemotherapy drugs. Some of them have side effects so bad people choose to die sooner instead of taking them. The problem is that they all kill cells other than cancer cells and especially cells that reproduce often like hair and blood. DCA doesn't effect anything other than cancer cells as it targets a metabolic process not normally used by non-cancerous cells - glycolysis, the so-called Warburg Effect - where mitochondira are shut down and energy for the cell is produced through glycolysis instead of the Kreb's cycle. The Warburg Effect in cancer cells was discovered in the 1930's and almost all types of cancer shut down the mitochondria and use glycolysis for energy production. Glycolysis produces lactic acid. It had been thought that mitochondria in cancer cells were damaged but it turns out they are just made dormant and DCA fires them back up. The other notable thing that mitochondria do besides producing energy is they initiate apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cells that have become to old or are malfunctioning. Disabling mitochondria is how cancer cells achieve their immortality. DCA makes them mortal again and the mitochondria cause them to self-destruct. Not only that but they self-destruct in a way that the necrotic tumor tissue doesn't make you sick. Apotosis, unlike abnormal cell death, causes the cell contents to be packaged up into small pieces that are consumed by other body cells whereas cell death from something like a virus causes the cell to explode and spill its contents all over which makes you sick. That's why these people start feeling better right away. This has all been previously documented here in my other blog postings on this chemical. DCA's cancer effect was discovered by researchers at a university who patented the treatment protocol but who couldn't patent the chemical itself. Patents on treatment protocols are weak and generally unenforceable so no big pharaceutical companies will put up the hundreds of millions of dollars to run clinical trials. This isn't the run-of-the-mill snake oil cure. I've been following cancer research for 40 years and this is unlike anything that's ever come before. DaveScot
Disappointing. I checked out the web site. I read through some of the testimonials and I thought they were rather disappointing. Some of the people have been taking the drug for since Feb. and there have been no clear reports of reduction in tumor size in humans. There were a couple of people reporting that it did not work. One person reported that his tumor growth slowed (but not stopped or reversed). There were several stories of people who said that they felt better and had more energy. (Some research suggests that this may be true even if DCA has no effect on cancer.) There are also a people who reported that they started taking the drug, but never reported back to tell about their results. Maybe I was overly optimistic about the benefits of DCA. It's still pretty early to weigh the anadotal evidence. But still, I would think we would be able to pull up at least one clear success story of decreased tumor size in humans. I still wish them success. TomT
The information on DCA sounds really cool. I'd be wary, however, with a molecule that is so small and that needs to be given in such large quantities. DCA will most likely have a myriad of non-specific effects, which is probably perfectly fine for health improvement and disease prevention but is generally undesirable when one is searching for a treatment. Drugs should be specific, and work at low concentrations. However, I'm interested to see how this ends up playing out, since there are certainly compounds out there that work nonspecifically and at high concentrations and appear perfectly safe (ie, fish oil fatty acids). mjb2001
Personally, I'm glad the FDA exists. People are always touting cures (Noni Juice, etc) for cancer and everything else. And.. of course.. most of the time they are false claims made by people trying to scam desparate people. The FDA exists for a reason. dodgingcars
OFF TOPIC. Dave, we need an address to send this stuff to: Sunspots reaching 1,000-year high http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3869753.stm Have fun with it! Robo

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