Day: January 19, 2007

An off patent miracle cancer cure?

Interesting news coming out of Canada from a Dr. Anselm at the University of Alberta about a well known chemical dichloroacetic acid (like vinegar with two chlorines!).

Cheap, safe drug kills most cancers – health – 17 January 2007 – 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.

Here’s the PubMed citation for the article, filled with biology I will have no hope of understanding! I read the press release on sciencedaily a few days back and did a little background digging.

A clinical trial conducted by Colombia University studying the effects of dichloroacetate on MELAs (stroke like symptoms) was halted early because everyone taking the medication showed significant effects of neural toxicity. This study was commented on by Dr. Anselm who theorized that the effect could be caused by a specific gene mutation not seen in a lot of the patients he works with.

So, there is some reason for caution on this wonder drug, it may be toxic at certain doses to certain people. Most chemotherapetic drugs are horrendously toxic too. But if this is not a concern, Dr Anselm, meet Sunil Shaunak and his wonderful proposal to setup an alternative pipeline for drug approval that does not involve big/small pharma. I Am sure between Bill Gates, or George Soros, a few million bucks can be rustled up for a cancer cure.