Dicholoracetate (DCA) received much media attention in 2007 when Evangelos Michelakis of the University of Alberta reported that it dramatically shrank tumours across a broad spectrum of cancers in mice. The media stir had patients clamouring for the drug before it passed the traditional trials. Michelakis’ warning (amongst others) against taking the drug before the trials fell on deaf ears with a spate of online sites springing up selling the cheap, relatively simple, and generally well tolerated substance.
There was a big problem with DCA which had nothing to do with its pharmacology; It wasn’t patentable. To bring a drug to market, it costs a pharmaceutical company in the neighbourhood of a billion dollars which means that a watertight patent is required to ensure that the company receives return on investment. As such, the drug was largely ignored by the mainstream pharmaceutical market.
Meanwhile Michelakis called upon private investors and the Government of Canada to contribute towards a limited phase II trial which would demonstrate that DCA works similarly in humans as it does in mice. The trial succeeded thus, but didn’t produce any stellar demonstrations of its efficacy because in the end, there were only 5 patients left in the trial.
Other doctors took a different approach. It turns out that DCA is already approved for human use in a rare condition called Congenital Lactic Acidosis. This allowed physicians such as Dr. Akbar Khan of Medicor Cancer Centres (http://www.medicorcancer.com/) to prescribe the drug for an “off-label” use in cancer.
Medicor amassed reams of anecdotal evidence of DCA’s efficacy and published their results on the web. These results report that DCA demonstrated at 60% response rate in their patients. It is important to note that this 60% was in a population of very sick patients many of whom had gone the route of traditional chemotherapy with no results. Also of note the term ‘response’ is defined as a reduction in tumour size, markers, improved counts, and reduction in pain.
Since this original publication of results, the doctors and naturopaths at Medicor have been trying various combinations of DCA along with other agents. It would seem that DCA works best as an adjuvant therapy alongside radiation, surgery, traditional chemotherapy or other non-chemo therapy agents such as Avemar:
Recently Medicor released a journal paper demonstrating an impressive result. DCA in conjunction with radiation led to a long term (5 year) remission in a cancer (Renal squamous cell carcinoma (“RSCC”)) which was previously considered untreatable and incurable in the field.
[Note to reader: The use of the term ‘cure’ is verboten in argot of cancer research – a telling statement unto itself. For the lay reader, this patient was ‘cured’.]
From the paper:
Renal squamous cell carcinoma is a rare form of renal cancer which is considered incurable
once metastases develop. Prognosis is poor and average survival of advanced stage disease is
typically in the range of several months, despite all available conventional therapies.
In conclusion there is a palpable reticence among the media to report any further findings about DCA. They seem to be experiencing post publishing regret for ‘crying wolf’ in the case of DCA. You can find evidence for this in a recent CBC article which bemoans the media’s ‘reckless’ reporting of the discovery:
The media seems unable to realize that the DCA won’t reach the state of passing the clinical trials they demand due to a fundamental flaw in profit driven model of medical research. Hopefully the continued efforts of doctors and researchers such as this paper will cause the media to re-examine their hesitancy.
For more about DCA please visit:
www.martincwiner.com/dca and sign a petition to have DCA research funded if you are moved to do so.
If you would like to see some legislative changes that would allow pharmaceutical companies to research non-patentable drugs by replacing patents by a government granted exclusive right of production.