I was as skeptical when I read the headline, but it seems that there might be something to this finding.
The study found that DCA — or dichloroacetate — can shrink the tumours by altering a cancer cell’s metabolism.
DCA is a common compound that cannot be patented, so it was interesting to read that drug companies have no interest in the groups research. If the research cannot be funded, then the time it will take to get the drug approved will be much longer.
DCA has been used for years to treat children with inborn mitochondrial diseases, by “boosting” and normalizing their mitochondria. The researchers wondered if they could use the drug to normalize the mitochondria of cancer cells, thus bringing the cancer under control. It seems that this is indeed a possibility, but more has to be done to understand what other effects the drug may have.
I worked for a health related company several years ago and experienced first hand how difficult it is to innovate in that vertical market. I have approached health care professionals with ideas since then, like VoIP phones systems with custom features that would protect the doctors privacy while enabling better communication with patients.
My GP told me that everything in his office (Even the phone system) has to be approved my his insurance company. If there is a problem, he can be sued and loose his license. I asked him if that ever happens and he said that he gets sued on average once or twice a year. He does a rotation at a local hospital and people actually come in to emergency with made up conditions to trap health care providers. It’s a growing business that pays quite well if you know what you are doing. Insurance companies always settle out of court so it’s a cash business.
It’s a good thing that I’m not a conspiracy nut, because there would be low hanging fruit here. If this drug really can save lives then lets make sure it’s available as soon as possible. I encourage all of you to set book marks, follow the testing progress and donate what you can to the people on this team.