January 17, 2007

FOLKS'LL BE BATHING IN THE STUFF:

Cheap, safe drug kills most cancers (Andy Coghlan, 1/17/07, New Scientist)

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 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.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 17, 2007 10:15 PM
Comments

An exception that proves the rule. Where will the next dichloroacetate come from?

Posted by: at January 18, 2007 8:14 AM

More likely this is the new Taxol.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 18, 2007 11:22 AM
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