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29th January 2007 by Arrow Durfee Posted in Uncategorized

New Scientist has received an unprecedented amount of interest in this story from readers. If you would like up-to-date information on any plans for clinical trials of DCA in patients with cancer, or would like to donate towards a fund for such trials, please visit the site set up by the University of Alberta and the Alberta Cancer Board. We will also follow events closely and will report any progress as it happens.

It is rare to find a drug that sweeps away decades of assumptions and reveals a radical approach to treating all forms of a disease. But a simple, small molecule called dichloroacetate (DCA) has done just that – and to that most dreaded of diseases: cancer.

The new findings, might also force a rethink on what actually causes cells to turn cancerous in the first place.

In 1930, biochemist Otto Warburg, proposed that cells turn cancerous through a fundamental change in the way they generate their energy. Normally, cells use specialised organelles called mitochondria to supply their energy. Cancer cells shift to a process called glycolysis which takes place in the main body of the cell. Glycolysis is an inefficient system of making energy which normal cells employ only when oxygen is in short supply, switching to mitochondrial energy production when oxygen levels increase.

Curiously, Warburg discovered that cancer cells continue to use glycolysis even when oxygen is plentiful. He called this the “Warburg effect”, and claimed it was common to all cancer cells.

His ideas were dismissed and buried long ago, not least when another famous biochemist, Hans Krebs, said the Warburg effect was a symptom of cancer, not the primary cause. This scepticism was reinforced by the belief that cancer cells switch to glycolysis because their mitochondria are damaged and don’t work any more.

Enter DCA, which has been used for years to treat people with mitochondrial disease. The drug boosts the ability of mitochondria to generate energy. When given to cancer cells it did the same: the cells switched from glycolysis to mitochondrial energy production. What’s more, functional mitochondria help cells recognise functional abnormalities and trigger cell death.

In tests, the DCA caused cancer cells to lose their “immortality” and die. When the drug was given to rats with human tumours, the tumours shrank. Warburg may have been right after all – glycolysis may be more than just a symptom of cancer.

So why not rush straight into clinical trials with this drug? It is cheap, does not appear to affect normal cells, we know its side effects, and it should work on all cancers.

There’s a hitch: dichloroacetate is an old drug and so cannot be patented. The upshot is that pharmaceutical companies can’t stop rivals making and selling it more cheaply, so it’s not worth their while to go to the huge expense of testing it in clinical trials.

This is not a new problem. Many drugs are left on the shelf because companies cannot make lots of money from them. It has happened for diseases that affect mainly poor people, such as TB, although there are now an increasing number of initiatives to help deal with these cases. But cancer is historically a disease that chiefly afflicts the rich, and testing DCA will need a one-off effort.

Drugs companies will be falling over themselves to find a patentable drug with similar action to DCA. Any of these that reach the market will be hugely expensive. It would be a scandal if a cheap alternative with such astonishing potential were not given a chance simply because it won’t turn a big enough profit.

Where to Purchase DCA:

Dichloroacetate (DCA) is a drinking water disinfectant by-product commonly identified in municipal water supplies. Concentrations of DCA in finished drinking water have been reported as high as 133 [micro]g/L (1), although concentrations

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  1. Arrow Durfee Says:

    Monday, January 22, 2007,%20Cancer,Anti-Aging,%20Resveratrol,

    About the latest cancer cure

    By Bill Sardi

    My email box fills with reports of a newly found cancer cure. No, not another herb touted by a poney-tailed herbalist who just returned from Katmandu, but from the University of Alberta. OK, it deserves attention.

    God knows, humanity needs a treatment for cancer that works and doesn’t kill the patients before it cures. Take Tamoxifen for example. The most recent study found, after 12 months, 22% of women being treated for breast cancer had ceased using the drug. At 24 months 28% had stopped Tamoxifen, and at 3.5 years 35% had stopped the treatment. [Cancer, Online: January 22, 2007 Print Issue Date: March 1, 2007]

    Tamoxifen’s side effects are horrendous, and the drug only marginally effective. In one Tamoxifen study, among 6600 healthy women who took Tamoxifen, there were 69 fewer tumors compared to 6000 other women who took a dummy pill. In other words, Tamoxifen benefited only about 1 in 100 high-risk women as a preventive measure. Yet it was widely hailed as a breakthrough! [Associated Press Oct. 30, 1998] Ninety-nine women would have to take Tamoxifen and be subject to its side effects for one woman to escape breast cancer.

    Among the serious and life-threatening events associated with Tamoxifen are uterine malignancies (yep, cancer!), stroke, and pulmonary embolism (life-threatening blood clot in the lungs), not to mention blinding cataracts, aged skin, hair loss. A “Tamoxifened” woman looks terrible.

    Back to our report about the new cancer wonder drug. So the University of Alberta press release says a “small molecule offers big hope against cancer.” So far, sounds attractive, since small molecules are avidly being investigated for cancer treatment as they can enter the cell nucleus and switch cancer promoting/inhibiting genes on or off.

    The surprising molecule that does this is dichloroacetate (DCA), an odorless, colorless, inexpensive, and “relatively non-toxic” drug that has already been used in humans to treat a condition called lactic acidosis.

    OK, lactic acidosis is the common state of metabolism in cancer cells. Cancer cells, lacking the ability to produce energy from within their own cellular machinery (mitochondria), revert to producing sugar for cell energy, which produces lactic acid as a by-product. The lactic acid dumps outside the cell, repelling anti-cancer agents and making the cancer cell immortal. Dammit, these tumor cells won’t die off like normal cells.

    So the researchers found that dichloroacetate (DCA) revives the energy-producing compartments (mitochondria) within cancer cells, eventually resulting in cancer cell death (what researchers called apoptosis). DCA did no harm to surrounding healthy cells, so it might be non-toxic.

    Modern medicine is desperately searching for anti-cancer molecules that kill cancer cells and leave healthy cells alone. Unfortunately, chemotherapy today is very toxic to tumor and healthy cells alike, and the patient often succumbs to the treatment rather than their disease. Furthermore, cells don’t like the toxic drugs, they develop a resistance to them, so chemotherapy usually only works for a short time.

    The University of Alberta researchers note that DCA has already been used in humans to treat mitochondrial disease with “relative” non-toxicity. But they lament that DCA is unpatentable so it is not likely to receive any attention, or research funding, from a pharmaceutical company.

    Now there is the rub. The admission there may be a cure for cancer out there, but it’s gotta make a big profit for a drug company or they won’t pay attention to it. This is commercially understandable. However, this serves to say, simpler remedies may exist, but patients are going to have to go on a scavenger hunt to find them on their own.

    The university-based researchers sought widespread publicity for DCA hoping a private source would provide research funds. [Small molecule offers big hope against cancer, University of Alberta press release, Jan. 17, 2007]

    But treating mice in the laboratory is a long way from proving a cancer drug not only kills cancer cells, but actually improves survival. There are a lot of drugs that shrink tumors, but don’t improve survival. When DCA was used in humans in 1983, it effectively reduced lactic acidosis and normalized blood pressure. The drug itself produced no known toxicity, but 12 of 13 DCA-treated patients still died. [New England Journal Medicine 309: 390-96, 1983]

    In animals, DCA induces liver toxicity and neoplasia (yep, cancer!). DCA is actually a by-product of water chlorination, chlorine being one of the most toxic molecules on the planet. [Environmental Health Perspectives 106 (Suppl 4): 989-994, 1998]

    Of interest, the toxic side effects of DCA may emanate from inducement of a vitamin B 1 (thiamine) deficiency. The chronic use of dichloroacetate (DCA) for diabetes has been compromised by nerve and other forms of toxicity. DCA is metabolized to glyoxylate, which is converted to oxalate and, in the presence of adequate thiamine levels, to other metabolites. Nerve toxicity from DCA administration appears to result from depletion of body thiamine stores and abnormal metabolism of oxalate, a known nerve toxin. The co-administration of vitamin B1 with DCA reduces urinary oxalate levels from 86% above normal to only 28% above normal. [Toxicological Sciences 14: 327-37, 1990] Maybe this tips off how DCA actually works, by depriving cells of an essential nutrient.

    Anyway, you’ve learned more about DCA than you care to, or need to, know. That’s because there is another small molecule that deserves more attention. Like DCA, it is a small molecule that can enter the cell nucleus and switch genes on or off. It is perceived by the body as a toxin, but actually is non-toxic, and it is very stealth, it can penetrate any resistant cancer cell. It works in a similar manner to DCA by inducing cancer cell death (apoptosis). The molecule is resveratrol, known as a red wine molecule. Resveratrol appears to kill off cancer cells by depolarizing (demagnetizing) mitochrondrial bodies within tumor cells.

    Resveratrol is 100 anti-cancer drugs in one. Resveratrol works in so many ways to block cancer, researchers can’t find a cancer-promotion pathway it doesn’t inhibit. It is virtually non-toxic since, after oral ingestion, it is quickly metabolized by the liver, attached to a detoxification molecule called glucuronate, which renders it harmless, though biologically inactive, at least for a time.

    At the site of tumors cells there is an unzipping enzyme (glucuronidase) that uncouples resveratrol from glucuronate. This is nature’s “drug delivery system,” releasing resveratrol at the right time and place. This explains resveratrol’s stealthiness. [Cancer Letters 231: 113-22, 2006; Oncogene 23: 6702-11, 2004; Toxicology Letters 161: 1-9, 2006; World Journal Gastroenterology 12: 5628-34, 2006; Investigative Ophthalmology Visual Science 47: 3708-16, 2006; Cancer Detection Prevention 30: 217-23, 2006; Molecular Cancer Therapy 4: 554-61, 2005; Journal Biological Chemistry 278: 41482-90, 2003]

    There are currently two human resveratrol/cancer trials underway, one for cancer prevention at the University of Leicester, and one for colon cancer at the University of California, Irvine. Both trials have passed the safety arm, meaning no overt toxicity. Cancer patients await the completion of these studies.

    Copyright 2007 Bill Sardi, Knowledge of Health, Inc.

    Bill Sardi has a commercial interest in resveratrol pills.

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  2. alfsuzy Says:

    If all the people suffering from a cancer would contribute $100. what would that do for finding a cancer cure?

  3. Arrow Durfee Says:

    Depends upon who’s hands you put the money into!

    Put it into the hands of a pharmaceutical company any you wont get very far. The National Institute of Cancer doesn’t have much interest in the truth either.
    These people have no interest in curing cancer, just making money, promoting their positions and having a valuable product. They are in cahoots with the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA to assure that nothing really significant is done other than lining their own purses and assuring that their jobs continue. What they promote is expensive research into even more expensive drugs that eventually maim and kill. How many billions already have been spent world wide to find this cure? And what are our results? The rate of cancer in our population continues to increase with more people dying every year. Few positive and effective treatments have been found through their efforts.

    Money helps but it is not the answer. What we must find is a higher degree of ethics and an unleashing of our FDA from immoral and like criminal hands.

    The cure for cancer, I predict, will never be found in a single drug but may be found plant medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture. Nutritional therapy, ozone therapy, surgery and specific regimens for individuals. Drugs may play a role but it will small and only adjunctive.

  4. Elmira Says:

    Havent heard of this warbury effect. Very detailed information on dichlorate acting on cancerous cells. If that is true, I think DCA would later prove to be the best medicine for cancer.

    Such a study initiated unprecedented interest in important topics like this.Thanks for sharing this information

  5. Bill Woollam Says:

    URL link to this web page is:–baking-soda.html

    Regarding some recent investigations into a more simple cancer cure:
    Cancer cells cannot thrive in an alkaline, oxygen rich environment above pH level 7.4
    “Cancer needs an acid and low oxygen environment to survive and flourish within. Terminal cancer patients are around 1000 times more acidic than normal healthy people. The vast majority of terminal cancer patients possess a very low body pH. Cancer thrives in a low body pH.

    In the absence of oxygen, glucose undergoes fermentation to lactic acid. This causes the pH of the cell to drop from between 7.3 to 7.2 down to 7 and later to 6.5 in more advanced stages of cancer and in metastases the pH drops to 6.0 and even 5.7 or lower. Our bodies simply cannot fight disease if our body pH is not properly balanced.

    The normal human cell has a lot of molecular oxygen and a slightly alkaline pH. The cancer cell has an acid pH and lack of oxygen. Cancer cells cannot survive in an oxygen rich environment. Again, the higher the pH reading, the more alkaline and oxygen rich the fluid is. Cancer and all diseases hate oxygen / pH balance. pH balance is very important for one’s health. ”

    Therefore, by gradually raising the body’s pH level to 8 or higher, and then maintaining that for five days,…the environment for cancer growth is removed. Of course making changes to dietary habits as well as altering specific psycho/emotional patterns are part of that healing.

    FACT: Total healing of chronic illness only takes place when and if the blood is restored to a normal, slightly alkaline pH.
    On the other hand, an acidic balance will:

    decrease the energy production in the cells,
    make tumour cells thrive,
    decrease the body’s ability to absorb minerals and other nutrients,
    decrease its ability to repair damaged cells,
    decrease its ability to detoxify heavy metals,
    make it more susceptible to fatigue and illness.

    Monitoring your Body’s pH levels:

    “If you have a health problem, most likely you are acidic. Research shows that unless the body’s pH level is slightly alkaline, the body cannot heal itself. So, no matter what type of modality you choose to use to take care of your health problem, it won’t be as effective until the pH level is up. If your body’s pH is not balanced, you cannot effectively assimilate vitamins, minerals and food supplements. Your body pH affects everything.
    Total healing of chronic illness only takes place when and if the blood is restored to a normal, slightly alkaline pH ” (about 7.4 pH)

  6. Arrow Durfee Says:

    Thank you Bill for sharing your insights to the use of sodium bicarb.

  7. Beth L Says:

    Who sells DCA? Where can you buy it? And/or how do I make it?
    Thank you.