A drug that ‘cures’ most types of cancer, discovered some years ago, has sparked a new wave of interest across the blogosphere, despite human trials being inconclusive.
The drug – dichloro-acetate, or DCA – kills most cancers works by blocking the mechanism by which most cancer cells generate energy.
In trials, DCA stopped cancer cells stopped making energy, causing them to wither and die.
The big news when the New Scientist story broke in 2007 was that DCA was not only effective, but also cheap (as it had no patent) and simple to use.
According to the magazine, researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada tested DCA on human cells cultured outside the body and found that it killed lung, breast and brain cancer cells, but not healthy cells.
Since the initial frenzy over the story, five patients with cancer have been tested with DCA. Results, published last year in Science Translational Medicine, revealed that it probably extended the lives of four of the patients, while one other died, reports the New Scientist.
More trials are planed as the efficacy of the drug is still not clear, despite recent stories on some websites that a cure for cancer was found “without anyone reporting it.”
For more information, see Cancer Research UK: scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org