Misplaced Priorities: Cancer of the Attitude?

UPDATED: October 14, 2007

Since the story of a cheap safe cancer cure first broke on Jan 23 in NewScientistdotCom, virtually NO US mainstream media has picked up on and reported the story.

Google news searchs on "dichloroacetate" now produce only 9 hits this morning (compared to 59 hits in February). Contrast that to 15,433 news search hits this morning on "al-qaeda", for a bit of perspective. Cancer is a killer disease affecting millions of people every year, so the ignoring of this story cannot be due to any "lack of interest".
It sounds almost too good to be true: a cheap and simple drug that kills almost all cancers by switching off their "immortality". The drug, dichloroacetate (DCA), has already been used for years to treat rare metabolic disorders and so is known to be relatively safe.

It also has no patent, meaning it could be manufactured for a fraction of the cost of newly developed drugs.

Evangelos Michelakis of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and his colleagues tested DCA on human cells cultured outside the body and found that it killed lung, breast and brain cancer cells, but not healthy cells.

Where are the priorities?

A short, pointed piece from TopCancerNewsdotCom, that even Google no longer picks up in those 9 news search hits, explains it in no uncertain terms:
One of the fundamental premises of cancer biology is that mitochondria -- the energy producing units of cells -- are permanently damaged by cancer. What DCA does is revive the mitochondrial function, encouraging the death of cancer cells.

The overwhelming hope is that DCA will move right to human testing. But the overwhelming fear is that it will not -- because of economic reasons. There is no longer a patent on DCA so it is not owned by any one company. With little chance of one group making a large profit, there may be no incentive for pharmaceutical companies to invest in research.

Sadly, this drug -- that appears to work remarkably well -- may never benefit cancer patients. All because no one stands to make billions of dollars from it.

AxisOfLogic takes the explanation a step further towards the real truth behind this, in their Feb 02/07 article "The Real Cancer":

DCA is not a new drug. It has been used for years to treat michondrial disease. It is cheap and has limited side effects. Scientists decided to try it on cancer cells because it affects the metabolism of cells, the way they use energy. This is a different approach than the chemotherapy drugs now in use, which are toxic and kill off both cancerous and normal cells.

What has scientists especially excited is that DCA has the potential of working against all types of cancers, including secondary cancers caused when cells break off and migrate to other parts of the body.

So what's the hitch?
The problem with the whole medical industry is that it's not an industry to promote health, it's an industry to promote profits. In fact, the more sick people there are, the more money there is to be made. Pharmaceuticals make up one of the most profitable industries in this country, raking in hundreds of billions every year.

In the U.S., where the medical industry is the most advanced technologically, it's also the most expensive and the least efficient when the cost is measured against the general health of the people. That's why 47 million people here have no health coverage.
But issues like cancer and the messed-up environment, which can affect anyone, should make it clearer than ever that all humanity will benefit mightily when the parasitic billionaire class that currently stifles true progress is toppled from its seat of power.

This story should give us a pretty clear indication of what kinds of results to expect in the fight against another looming killer, Global Climate Change.

It's apparent that as a society we would rather be lied to and spun into spending hundreds of billions of dollars on chasing fantasies of ghosts and boogeymen, even at the cost of watching ourselves and our families and our children be systematically poisoned by pollution that threatens to upset the planetary environment, and at the cost of watching them die in agony from one of the most horrible diseases known.

The US has a Drug Lobby Second to None. No other industry has spent more money to sway public policy than the pharmaceutical industry: "Its lobbying operation, on which it reports spending more than $675 million, is the biggest in the nation."

As a species we certainly have some serious issues..... inside us. One of which is that we are incredibly willing to allow ourselves to be spun. Another is our unbelievable willingness to sit back and just take it, over and over and over, even when we know it is being done.

If we are willing to treat ourselves and our families this way, what kind of response should we expect from the rest of the world when America pre-emptively invades and kills them to bring them the wonders of western civilization?

< German Arrest Warrants for Ghost Air Crews | What Did Cpl Langarica Die For? >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    DCA RESEARCH INFORMATION (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Edger on Sat Feb 03, 2007 at 10:25:43 AM EST
    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.

    This website will be updated frequently to reflect progress in our efforts.

    Perhaps DCA should stand for... (none / 0) (#2)
    by David at Kmareka on Sat Feb 03, 2007 at 11:25:15 AM EST
    Don't Care About, at least to the profit-mongering pharmaceutical companies.  In any regard, thanks for bringing this issue to our attention, Edger.  Sadly, it is not at all surprising that the flickering flame of a potential cure for cancer may be doused by a health care system--which, of course, is merely one component of our capitalist economic system--that values private profit over the public good.  We must continue to speak out and demand that the public good be served.  I appreciate your doing so.

    Re: DCA = "Don't Care About" (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edger on Sat Feb 03, 2007 at 11:45:11 AM EST
    Good call, David. That's about the size of it, isn't it?

    I don't have the sources handy, but a few years ago I found it statistically shown that on average people who see doctors and utilize the health industry and pharmaceutical prescriptions regularly... have higher incidence of disease than people who avoid them.

    They tend to lose customers when they get well....... and keep those who stay ill. :-?


    It's rare.... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Sat Feb 03, 2007 at 02:11:53 PM EST
    when you leave the doctor's office without a script of somekind.  "Prescribe our stuff doc" said the pharma sales rep, "We will send you down to our annual retreat in the Bahamas."

    Last time I saw a doc over a case of the yaks I was having, they said my potassium was low and gave me a script for some potassium pills.  I threw the script out on the way out the door and started eating more bananas.  Just another case in point...there's no money in prescribing bananas, unless you're Chiquita.  And Chiquita ain't sending doctors to the Bahamas.

    Huh? (none / 0) (#5)
    by David at Kmareka on Sat Feb 03, 2007 at 05:08:35 PM EST
    "A case of the yaks"?  Like these?  I can only imagine what it took for the doctor to remove those.  Yuck.  In any case, you were right to dispense with the script and opt for a more natural alternative.  Besides, bananas are much more appealing.  :-)

    Sorry..... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 08:23:35 AM EST
    Yak is slang for puking.

    I forget not everyone speaks kdog.  My bad.


    If you like spicy foods (none / 0) (#6)
    by Edger on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 07:04:09 AM EST
    you may not only be at less risk of developing cancer, you might be inadvertently curing it if it does develop.

    Capsaicin, the spicy active ingredient in chili peppers, apparently triggers the same mitochondrial re-activation effect on cancer cells that DCA does:

    The tests on cultures of human lung and pancreatic cancers revealed that the family of molecules to which capsaicin belongs, the vanilloids, bind to proteins in the cancer cell mitochondria causing apoptosis (cell death) without harming surrounding healthy cells.

    The Nottingham University breakthrough study raises hopes that the innate vulnerability of all cancers has been discovered and that drugs could now be developed to attack mitochondria in a similar way to capsaicin.

    Another useful compound is curcumin, the yellow component of the spice turmeric:

    A Report on Curcumin's Anti-Cancer Effects
    January 2005

    Imagine a natural substance so smart it can tell the difference between a cancer cell and a normal cell; so powerful it can stop chemicals in their tracks; and so strong it can enable DNA to walk away from lethal doses of radiation virtually unscathed. Curcumin has powers against cancer so beneficial that drug companies are rushing to make drug versions. Curcumin is all this and more.

    Curcuma longa is a ginger-like plant that grows in tropical regions. The roots contain a bright yellow substance (turmeric) that contains curcumin and other curcuminoids. Turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries. But it's only within the past few years that the extraordinary actions of curcumin against cancer have been scientifically documented. Among its many benefits, curcumin has at least a dozen separate ways of interfering with cancer.

    Curcumin blocks estrogen mimicking chemicals

    One of the things that sets curcumin apart from most other anti-cancer supplements (I3C being an exception), is that this phenolic can actually block chemicals from getting inside cells. Importantly, curcumin can interfere with pesticides that mimic estrogen. These include DDT and dioxin, two extremely toxic chemicals that contaminate America's water and food. (Dioxin is so toxic that a few ounces of it could wipe out the entire population of New York City). Curcumin has the unique ability to fit through a cellular doorway known as the aryl hydrocarbon receptor. This is a feat it shares with estrogen and estrogen-mimicking chemicals. Because it can compete for the same doorway, curcumin has the power to block access to the cell and protect against estrogen mimickers.

    Like estrogen, estrogen-mimicking chemicals promote the growth of breast cancer. In a study on human breast cancer cells, curcumin reversed growth caused by 17b-estradiol by 98%. DDT's growth-enhancing effects on breast cancer were blocked about 75% by curcumin.

    And, if you don't mind smiling a lot while you get better, there are other possibilities as well. It was discovered back in 1974 that the primary constituent of cannabis, THC, killed brain cancer cells in mice: Antineoplastic activity of cannabinoids (hat tip to SeeEmmDee)

    Two more updates from the original researchers: (none / 0) (#8)
    by Edger on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:23:37 AM EST
    University of Alberta DCA research site:

    UPDATE  September 24, 2007: DCA Update: Health Canada Approves First DCA Clinical Trial in Cancer (.pdf)

    UPDATE  March 15, 2007:: 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".

    How come a third rate backwards country (none / 0) (#9)
    by Edger on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 09:35:57 AM EST
    like Canada, with a military too small to defend their own territory, no nuclear weapons, no hegemonic ambitions, and a traitorous non-capitalist universal health care system, develop a cure for cancer, while the U.S. can't, or won't?

    What the hell is wrong with them anyway? They value people more than money?

    Primitive backwards socialists.... Maybe their brains are frozen from those long cold winters?

    They must have Cancer of the Attitude up there.