Friday, January 19, 2007

Drug (DCA) may cure most cancers - Drug Co's don't want it.

Dichloroacetate (DCA) has been used for years to treat some rare metabolic disorders, and has been found to be relatively safe. Now it may be a magic solution to cure all kinds of cancer. So what's the problem? Why aren't all the drug companies panting to test and sell it? Well, there seems to be this minor problem with the economic system.

This is from Truthseeker:
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 attacks a unique feature of cancer cells: the fact that they make their energy throughout the main body of the cell, rather than in distinct organelles called mitochondria. This process, called glycolysis, is inefficient and uses up vast amounts of sugar.

Until now it had been assumed that cancer cells used glycolysis because their mitochondria were irreparably damaged. However, Michelakis’s experiments prove this is not the case, because DCA reawakened the mitochondria in cancer cells. The cells then withered and died (Cancer Cell, DOI: 10.1016/j.ccr.2006.10.020).

Michelakis suggests that the switch to glycolysis as an energy source occurs when cells in the middle of an abnormal but benign lump don’t get enough oxygen for their mitochondria to work properly (see diagram). In order to survive, they switch off their mitochondria and start producing energy through glycolysis.

Crucially, though, mitochondria do another job in cells: they activate apoptosis, the process by which abnormal cells self-destruct. When cells switch mitochondria off, they become “immortal”, outliving other cells in the tumour and so becoming dominant. Once reawakened by DCA, mitochondria reactivate apoptosis and order the abnormal cells to die.

“The results are intriguing because they point to a critical role that mitochondria play:
they impart a unique trait to cancer cells that can be exploited for cancer therapy,” says Dario Altieri, director of the University of Massachusetts Cancer Center in Worcester.
Wonderful, isn't it? There's just one problem. DCA is out of patent. It sells as a generic drug now. The drug companies are not going to waste the money that would be required for human testing because there is no possibility of getting the money back from sales. There is no monopoly possible on the drug. Private enterprise in the Free Market isn't going to touch it. Looks like a Socialist program is going to be required.

Does this mean the right-wingers won't touch the testing because it requires government funding??

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