Cancer patients, their families had their hopes raised when the results of the first human trial of Dichloroacetate DCA were released, researchers say that this result provides a new approach for treating cancer.
Tumors shrank during treatment and their conditions were stable by the time the trial ended. A second test is ongoing at the Cross Cancer Institute for 18 patients with other types of cancers
This article updates my previous article re University of Alberta Dr. Evangelos Michelakis re DCA
The following includes extracts that were reported in the Edmonton Journal.
Clinical trial was a limited study on DCA as a treatment for a aggressive kind of brain cancer, testing cancerous tumors in only five patients.
Of the five patients, three had tried many other treatment options and had life expectancies of seven months. Two were still alive after the 15-month trial.
Two of the five patients were recently diagnosed. They were expected to live 14 months, but their tumors shrank during treatment and their conditions were stable by the time the trial ended.
Results were published in Science Translational Medicine, a journal of the American Association of the Advancement of Science.
The news brought tears to Terry Babiy.
“My gut tells me this could be it,” said the radio station owner, who spent months fundraising for the drug trial in the Peace Country.
“This is the work of the people, for the people,” said Dr. Evangelos Michelakis. “Without them, we wouldn’t be sitting here thinking about step two. We would be sitting at step zero, which happens all the time.”
The drug Companies have no interest as DCA is a natural substance, they cannot obtain Patents. The possible $100 million cost of clinical trials & testing, approval costs would be lost to other entities.
It is great to see the support that is coming forward, but more money is needed to finally have DCA approved.
The money raised by individuals came from cheques of $10 to several thousand dollars sent in from people around the world. The Hecht Foundation and Canadian Institutes of Health Research supplied the rest of the $1.5 million needed.
You can contribute by donating direct to University of Alberta to help progress this very important research. Go to their web page, click on “Donations”.
Because brain tumors advance so aggressively, Health Canada approved a plan to start with high doses of the drug. But it was so high many patients experienced numbness in their fingers and lower limbs, called peripheral neuropathy. Doctors then reduced the dose to a level where no side effects were found.
The sample size wasn’t big enough to make any conclusions, except that DCA does seem to affect human tissues. Further trials are needed to prove the drug helps cancer patients, and to establish how best to use it with other treatment options.
“We can’t make any statement with regard to efficacy, but we are quite enthused,” Michelakis said.
“Keep in mind, these are people who had very big tumors’,” said Michelakis. Three of the patients had tried every other known treatment. “Their expected survival was less than seven months,” he said.
Glioblastoma is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer, patients typically die within a year.
After news of DCA’s potential and the lack of funding for tests broke in 2007, many desperate patients tried to self-medicate before the drug was approved for use.
Several Internet-based companies offered the chemical for sale. On Tuesday, an Edmonton man pleaded guilty in a Phoenix, Ariz., court to selling fake DCA online.
Michelakis said the body’s ability to break down the drug for the first few months is one of the reasons why it’s important to take the drug only under supervision.
Michelakis’s patients also received standard treatments — radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. It would be difficult to self-medicate properly because symptoms of overdose from the drug are very similar to the symptoms caused by the tumor itself.
A second test is ongoing at the Cross Cancer Institute for 18 patients with other types of cancers. Doctors there have also partnered with a facility in Los Angeles that has already accepted three cancer patients for a clinical test and has plans to expand.
More long-term tests, and tests with patients in multiple hospitals in multiple jurisdictions are still needed before the drug is approved for use.
Michelakis said he hopes their success with developing a generic drug will inspire others to believe drug trials can be done without industry support and the backing of drug companies. He hopes this success will spur more research with other drugs that might attack cancer cells in a similar way.
Hope this is helpful John