Cure for Cancer?

The times they are a-changin’.

This post seems to be older than 14 years—a long time on the internet. It might be outdated.

Could it really be true. Apparently:


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.

Wikipedia has more information:


Cancer cells also use glycolysis rather than oxidation, and have defective mitochondria. The body often kills damaged cells by apoptosis, a mechanism of self-destruction that involves mitochondria, but this mechanism fails in cancer cells. Michelakis at the University of Alberta[5] hypothesized that dichloroacetate, by restoring mitochondrial function, may restore apoptosis and kill cancer cells.

There are a couple twists though. First, dichloroacetate is no longer patented. This is good because the cost to produce it would be extremely cheap. But this also comes with a downside, since pharmaceutical companies wouldn’t be making a killing off selling the drug, getting financing for clinical trials might be hard.

Hat tip to Quinn McGinnis for pointing out this report.


2 thoughts on “Cure for Cancer?”

  1. The NewScientist article failed to point out a number of issues, including published data that DCA (1) is carcinogenic in rodent models, (2) can cause hepatotoxicity in rodent models and (3) can cause peripheral nerve toxicity in humans. There have been many therapies that were promising in vitro and in animal models that didn’t work in humans. The real question is will DCA successfully treat human cancers?

  2. The wonderful thing about this drug and the thing that makes it so promissing is that it has already been taken by humans for a rare metabolic disorder for several decades.

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