Brazilian Berry Destroys Cancer Cells In Lab
Canadian Doctor Discovers Possible Low Cost Cancer
UPDATE March 15, 2007
Letter from Dr. Evangelos Michelakis
UPDATE March 15, 2007
The University of Alberta Discovery
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. Sebastian 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”
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,
Newsweek, January 23, 2007
UPDATE January 23, 2007 - Investigators at the University of Alberta have recently reported that a drug previously used in humans for the treatment of rare disorders of metabolism is also able to cause tumor regression in a number of human cancers growing in animals. This drug, dichloroacetate (DCA), appears to suppress the growth of cancer cells without affecting normal cells, suggesting that it might not have the dramatic side effects of standard chemotherapies.
At this point, the University of Alberta, the Alberta Cancer Board and
Capital Health do not condone or advise the use of dichloroacetate (DCA)
in human beings for the treatment of cancer since no human beings have
gone through clinical trials using DCA to treat cancer. However, the University
of Alberta and the Alberta Cancer Board are committed to performing clinical
trials in the immediate future in consultation with regulatory agencies
such as Health Canada. We believe that because DCA has been used on human
beings in Phase 1 and Phase 2 trials of metabolic diseases, the cancer
clinical trials timeline for our research will be much shorter than usual.
Drug 'can reverse Alzheimer's symptoms in minutes'
Alzheimer's affects 700,000 Britons
A drug used for arthritis can reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer's "in minutes".
It appears to tackle one of the main features of the disease - inflammation in the brain.
The drug, called Enbrel, is injected into the spine where it blocks a chemical responsible for damaging the brain and other organs.
A pilot study carried out by U.S. researchers found one patient had his symptoms reversed "in minutes".
Other patients have shown some improvements in symptoms such as forgetfulness and confusion after weekly injections over six months.
The study of 15 patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer's has just been published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation by online publishers Biomed Central.
The experiment showed that Enbrel can deactivate TNF (tumour necrosis factor) - a chemical in the fluid surrounding the brain that is found in Alzheimer's sufferers.
When used by arthritis sufferers, the drug is self-administered by injection and researchers had to develop a way of injecting it into the spine to affect the brain cells.
Sue Griffin, a researcher at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, said: 'It is unprecedented to see cognitive and behavioural improvement in a patient with established dementia within minutes of therapeutic intervention.
'This gives all of us in Alzheimer research a tremendous new clue
about new avenues of research.' Enbrel is not approved for treating Alzheimer's in the U.S. or the UK and is regarded as highly experimental, said Dr Griffin.
'Even though this report predominantly discusses a single patient it is of significant scientific interest because of the potential insight it may give into the processes involved in the brain dysfunction of Alzheimer's,' she added.
Lead author of the study Edward Tobinick, of the University of California and Director of the Institute for Neurological Research, said the drug had 'a very rapid effect that's never been reported in a human being before'.
He added: 'It makes practical changes that are significant and perceptible, making a difference to his daily living.
'Some patients have been able to start driving again. They don't come back to normal but the change is good enough for patients to want to continue treatment.'
He said top-up injections were necessary but some patients had them a month apart.
Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia, affecting more than 700,000 Britons with about 500 cases diagnosed every day.
Neil Hunt, of the Alzheimer's Society charity, said: 'The pursuit of a miracle cure for Alzheimer's continues to drive research into a variety of potential treatment targets.
These include a possible link between inflammatory reactions in the brain and Alzheimer's.'
Children exposed to lead in old paint, Victorian pipes and toys could be at risk of Alzheimer's later in life, scientists said yesterday.
A study shows that even small amounts of the metal in the first few years can build up plaques around the brain.
Scientists at the University of Rhode Island told the New Scientist
that they fed infant formula milk laced with low doses of lead to baby
monkeys, then followed their progress for 23 years. A post mortem of the
brains revealed plaques - harmful deposits of protein found in Alzheimer's
Reader views (5)
Here's a sample of the latest views published.
Patrick ol' boy:
Yesterday I visited an Alzheimer's center for my parents who are 40 years my senior (I am 51). While there, I noticed one of the residents was a man I knew. We were on the same masters swim team (he is 20 years older), another woman was only 68.
Should you find yourself with the disease some day, you should pray that you don't remember poking fun of those who suffer from it.
Funny thing about Alzheimers - you never forget how you once were. In fact, that's all you can remember and thought knowing that it only gets worse is the horror that one lives with day and night.
- Reality Bytes, NJ - USA
I always thought that Alzheimers was envioromental. As we grow up we consume small amounts of lead, aluminum, and toxic materials in the products we use and our water and air. I hope that this discovery leads to more help for patients.
- Arthur Salcido, Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Doctors of Naturopathy have known for years that chelation therapies for metal poisoning have proven to draw out metals from the brain and stave off the onset of Alzheimers and other debilitating brain malfunctions. Cessation in the use of foods with aluminum phosphates, porous metal cookware, and metal food storage containers can reduce our risks. Get the lead out people!
- James Lutack, Pueblo West, CO USA
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