A drug that doctors have used for years to treat rare metabolic disorders appears to have an even greater benefit. It kills cancer cells. Researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada discovered this in cell-culture tests. Not only did the drug kill cancer cells, it left healthy cells alone.
The researchers then took a closer look. They put the drug in drinking water and fed it to rats with cancer tumors. Their tumors shrank dramatically within a few weeks. What is this miracle drug? Dichloroacetate, or DCA - an extremely inexpensive medicine.
The next step is to conduct some human trials. The problem is, DCA has no patent. This means that pharmaceutical companies aren?t interested in studying it. They make their profits on patented drugs.
Fortunately, both the University of Alberta and the Alberta Cancer Board have promised to conduct clinical trials on DCA. They?ll share their results with Health Canada, the agency that helps Canadians improve their health. If it works, it will benefit people with cancer all over the world. Don?t expect this to happen overnight, however. Dr. Evangelos Michelakos, head researcher on DCA and cancer expects these trials to begin in two years. His team may need public funding to conduct the studies.
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Meanwhile, I?ll keep you up to date on any news about DCA, so you can be among the first to know when it becomes available. DCA has a few known side effects. It causes pain, numbness, and gait disturbances in some people who have taken it for metabolic disorders. But that?s not as bad as the side effects of current cancer treatments. Without a doubt, we still need more information about DCA, but it certainly looks like a promising cancer-fighter.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand