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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    Cancer: The University of Alberta Discovery



    News and Updates

    The University of Alberta Discovery
    March 15, 2007

    DCA is an odourless, colourless, inexpensive, relatively non-toxic, small molecule. And researchers at the University of Alberta believe it may soon be used as an effective treatment for many forms of cancer.

    Dr. Evangelos Michelakis, a professor at the U of A Department of Medicine, has shown that dichloroacetate (DCA) causes regression in several cancers, including lung, breast, and brain tumors.

    Michelakis and his colleagues, including post-doctoral fellow Dr. Sebastien Bonnet, have published the results of their research in the journal Cancer Cell.

    Scientists and doctors have used DCA for decades to treat children with inborn errors of metabolism due to mitochondrial diseases. Mitochondria, the energy producing units in cells, have been connected with cancer since the 1930s, when researchers first noticed that these organelles dysfunction when cancer is present.

    Until recently, researchers believed that cancer-affected mitochondria are permanently damaged and that this damage is the result, not the cause, of the cancer. But Michelakis, a cardiologist, questioned this belief and began testing DCA, which activates a critical mitochondrial enzyme, as a way to "revive" cancer-affected mitochondria.

    The results astounded him.

    Michelakis and his colleagues found that DCA normalized the mitochondrial function in many cancers, showing that their function was actively suppressed by the cancer but was not permanently damaged by it.

    More importantly, they found that the normalization of mitochondrial function resulted in a significant decrease in tumor growth both in test tubes and in animal models. Also, they noted that DCA, unlike most currently used chemotherapies, did not have any effects on normal, non-cancerous tissues.

    "I think DCA can be selective for cancer because it attacks a fundamental process in cancer development that is unique to cancer cells," Michelakis said. "One of the really exciting things about this compound is that it might be able to treat many different forms of cancer".

    Another encouraging thing about DCA is that, being so small, it is easily absorbed in the body, and, after oral intake, it can reach areas in the body that other drugs cannot, making it possible to treat brain cancers, for example.

    Also, because DCA has been used in both healthy people and sick patients with mitochondrial diseases, researchers already know that it is a relatively non-toxic molecule that can be immediately tested patients with cancer.

    "The results are intriguing because they point to the critical role that mitochondria play: they impart a unique trait to cancer cells that can be exploited for cancer therapy"
    Dario Alteri
    Director University of Massachusetts Cancer Center
    Investing in Research

    The DCA compound is not patented and not owned by any pharmaceutical company, and, therefore, would likely be an inexpensive drug to administer, says Michelakis, the Canada Research Chair in Pulmonary Hypertension and Director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Program with Capital Health, one of Canada's largest health authorities.

    However, as DCA is not patented, Michelakis is concerned that it may be difficult to find funding from private investors to test DCA in clinical trials. He is grateful for the support he has already received from publicly funded agencies, such as the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), and he is hopeful such support will continue and allow him to conduct clinical trials of DCA on cancer patients.

    Michelakis' research is currently funded by the CIHR, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Canada Research Chairs program, and the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research.

    "This preliminary research is encouraging and offers hope to thousands of Canadians and all others around the world who are afflicted by cancer, as it accelerates our understanding of and action around targeted cancer treatments," said Dr. Philip Branton, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Cancer.

    DCA and Cancer Patients

    The University of Alberta's DCA Research Team is set to launch clinical trials on humans in the spring of 2007 pending government approval. Knowing that thousands of cancer patients die weekly while waiting for a cure, Dr. Michelakis and his team are working at accelerated speed, condensing research that usually takes years into months. Fundraisers at the University of Alberta are determined to raise the money to allow this next phase of research to begin. Once Health Canada grants formal approval, the University of Alberta's Research Team will begin testing DCA on patients living with cancer. Results with regards to the safety and efficacy of treatment should be known late this year.

    "If there were a magic bullet, though, it might be something like dichloroacetate, or DCA..."
    Newsweek, January 23, 2007
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack. -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
    Baluchitherium Scott's Avatar
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    I wonder what's happened with this...6 years later.
    Winners come and go; legends are forever.

  3. #3
    Atomic Punk edwardv's Avatar
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    A lot of conspiracy loons say that they really don't want to cure cancer just keep treating it and have the dollars roll in. Makes you think.
    EVH 1979: Well, actually it's not much of a vacation, because we run everything ourselves. We design our own album cover, we have to be in the office every day to sign checks - the whole corporation revolves around us. Nothing can be done without our approval. We even have photo approval.

  4. #4
    Good Enough pickslide's Avatar
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  5. #5
    Baluchitherium Harpospoke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edwardv View Post
    A lot of conspiracy loons say that they really don't want to cure cancer just keep treating it and have the dollars roll in. Makes you think.
    That's never made any logical sense to me. Rich people die from cancer all the time...as do doctors. If there were a cure anywhere, those people would find a way to use it.

    Cancer is not just one thing though. There can be no "cure" because every cancer is different. And cancer is also a moving target which does not follow the same rules every time. We'll probably find effective treatments which are very close to being "cures" for various cancer types individually over time...but there will never be one cure that takes care of cancer as a whole.

  6. #6
    Baluchitherium
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    Fuck Cancer. While we're at it, fuck you.
    "Alcoholism, is like, the only disease you can get yelled at for having" - Mitch
    Hedberg

  7. #7
    Good Enough pickslide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harpospoke View Post
    That's never made any logical sense to me. Rich people die from cancer all the time...as do doctors. If there were a cure anywhere, those people would find a way to use it.

    Cancer is not just one thing though. There can be no "cure" because every cancer is different. And cancer is also a moving target which does not follow the same rules every time. We'll probably find effective treatments which are very close to being "cures" for various cancer types individually over time...but there will never be one cure that takes care of cancer as a whole.
    Yeah, I don't buy that. We have solved a lot of medical problems over the years, and sometimes the solutions were simple, and not especially profitable. Iodine in salt virtually eliminated goiter.

    I DO think we sometimes spend too much on "fighting" it and not nearly enough preventing it. But that's not a consiracy so much as a normal human foible.

    TK

  8. #8
    Master Bluesman Elwood P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harpospoke View Post
    That's never made any logical sense to me. Rich people die from cancer all the time...as do doctors.
    Very true. Look at Paul McCartney. He coulda bought any cancer treatment/hospital he wanted to. Couldn't save his wife. Kinda scary when you think about that. Cancer is a MFer!
    "I'm the opposite of Bill Cosby. Diamond Dave always gets your approval." (DLR)

    "Kids, just say NO to marriage". (Al Bundy)

    Rawhide in "A"

    OAA

 

 

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