Thursday, April 26, 2012

DCA – Magic Weapon against Cancer. Or Not?



I spoke with a gentleman who told me his amazing pancreatic cancer story. He has been on DCA for 5 weeks. He had a two inch tumor on his pancreas. He just had a CAT scan and the doctor told him he could not see the tumor.


(From phone call, 23 September 2008, TheDCAsite)


If you have pancreatic cancer, you may start believing in miraculous substances, which will make you cancer-free fast and easy. Hope is a good thing, and you will not win, if you do not have a hope. But, as you understand, not everything you read in newspapers or online, is true. Some promising cures end up in ditch as they cannot be scientifically validated, other may be just little better than placebo.

DCA is one of the promising alternative treatments for multiple cancers, which already proved to help in numerous clinical cases. However, it is not in the mainstream medicine practice yet.

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What is DCA?

Dichloroacetic acid is a small molecule, basically acetic acid with 2 chlorines. It is odorless, colorless, inexpensive, and relatively non-toxic. The molecular formula is Cl2CHCOOH.

Dichloroacetate (DCA) is the sodium salt of dichloroacetic acid. Replace hydrogen with sodium and you get Cl2CHCOONa.


I spoke with a gentleman who told me his amazing pancreatic cancer story. He has been on DCA for 5 weeks. He had a two inch tumor on his pancreas. He just had a CAT scan and the doctor told him he could not see the tumor. The cancer had metastasized to his liver and the doctor said his liver looked better too. Additionally this gentleman has Gers that had metastasized to his bones. His PSA was at 90 and is now at 22. He says he feels much better and has no more pain in his joints. He takes a dose of 10 mg/kg every day, 7 days a week. He drinks a lot of black tea and takes B1. I asked about side effects and he said he has not had any.
(From phone call, 23 September 2008, TheDCAsite)


Discovery in University of Alberta, Canada (2007)

Yes, the first discovery of the magical positive effect of the DCA on the cancer cells was made just 5 years ago, in University of Alberta, Canada. Dr. Evangelos Michelakis, a professor at the University of Alberta Department of Medicine, has shown that dichloroacetate (DCA) causes regression in several cancers, including lung, breast, and brain tumors.

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.

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.

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My untreatable pancreatic tumor continues to shrink- the oncologists are still puzzled over why this is occurring even tho I remind them each time that I am still using DCA. Between report #5 and #6 I eased my DCA to 10 mg/kg and I took it 4 days on and 3 days off. The slight hand tremor went away. I took two cycles of Gemcidobine Chemo 3 weeks on and 1 week off ending those in mid Nov' 07. From mid Nov to 20 Dec I was on DCA only.


(From fax, 3 January 2008, TheDCAsite)


How does DCA work?

So, the Michelakis team reported that DCA turns on the mitochondria of cancer cells, allowing them to commit cellular suicide, or apoptosis. Cancer cells shut down the mitochondria, which is the part of the cell that is involved in metabolism and, incidentally, initiates the cell suicide.

A non-cancerous cell will initiate apoptosis when it detects damage within itself that it cannot repair. But a cancer cell resists the suicide process. That is why chemotherapy and radiation treatments do not work very well and actually result in terrible side effects… the healthy cells actually die much easier.

Michelakis and his team discovered that they could re-activate the mitochondria of cancer cells. Not only that, the DCA is very effective in doing it: To quote from the Michelakis paper: “The decrease in [Ca2+]i occurs within 5 min and is sustained after 48 hr of DCA exposure.” The mitochondria are so sensitive to DCA that just 5 minutes of exposure reactivates them for 48 hours.

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A woman with pancreatic cancer was given about 5 months to live. Her CA 19-9 marker was 2200. She used gemcitabine and DCA. The doctor does not know she is using the DCA. It is now 1 1/2 years later, she is very active, working outside, and her CA19-9 is down to 187.

(From phone call, 17 June 2010, TheDCAsite)



DCA Dosage and the DCA-Tea-B1 Protocol

It appears that DCA works vastly better when used in combination with caffeinated tea and vitamin B1. Reports and an early survey indicate that caffeinated tea is critical. Vitamin B1 may be essential as wellIt is recommended using all three: DCA, black tea and vitamin B1.

While there are no official recommended doses for these components consumption, please note the important considerations:

1. It is clear from the research that one must be very careful about not going too high with the dosage of DCA for too long a period. Adults may have problems using dosages at 25 mg/kg of body weight and above for protracted periods. We see people showing side effects even at 14 to 15 mg/kg of body weight per day after three to six weeks.

2. The Michelakis paper states that DCA is dose-dependent, meaning the higher the dose of DCA the better the response. The Michelakis patent gives a dose range of 10 mg/kg of body weight to 100 mg/kg for tumor action.

3. The half-life of DCA in the body is about 24 hours, so drug holidays are a good way to lower the levels of DCA and avoid side effects.

4.  In using DCA, it is recommended to consider the full protocol of DCA, caffeinated tea and vitamin B1. It appears that you can use lower doses of DCA in this protocol. Side effects are still a concern, so adjust accordingly if side effects appear.

5. You can take DCA once or twice a day. Split the dosage and take half in the morning and half at night.

Side effects from DCA are reported even with doses of 13 to 14 mg/kg after 6 to 8 weeks. Considering the half-life of DCA (the amount of time necessary to metabolize and eliminate half of the DCA in one's system) can run as long as 24 hours, getting off DCA periodically might help keep the levels low and make managing side effects much easier.

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Self-Medication Warning!

The promise of DCA as a cheap, effective and safe treatment for cancer generated a great deal of public interest. Many people turned to self-medication. However, you should be aware that doctors warned of potential problems if people attempt to try DCA outside a controlled clinical trial. "If it starts going badly, who is following you before it gets out of control? By the time you realize your liver is failing, you're in big trouble", said Laura Shanner, Associate Professor of Health Ethics at the University of Alberta.

But why there is no additional research if the preliminary data is so promising? The good and the bad thing about DCA is that it is non-patentable as a general compound, though a patent has been filed for its use in cancer treatment. Research by Evangelos Michelakis has received no support from the pharmaceutical industry so far. Concerns have been raised that without strong intellectual property protection, the financial incentive for drug development is reduced, and therefore obtaining sufficient funds to conduct clinical trials presents difficulty. Seek the money trail again!

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It is clear that DCA is an intriguing drug – one of many currently being investigated by scientists around the world. It will be interesting to see the results of more extensive lab-based experiments and larger clinical trials of DCA. However, some scientists claim that while these preliminary results are quite positive, it is unlikely that this one compound represents “the cure” for cancer – and it is also unlikely that DCA is the “wonder drug” that the headlines portray. Cancer is a complex and multi-faceted disease, and it can be caused by a range of different faults within the cell. It is unlikely that any single drug could ever treat all forms of the disease.


Sources and Additional Information:



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