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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 6:38 pm 
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I came across this article and though it would be interesting to get Bill et al's take on it.

http://hubpages.com/hub/Scientists_cure ... kes_notice

Quote:
Researchers at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Canada have cured cancer last week, yet there is a little ripple in the news or in TV. It is a simple technique using very basic drug. The method employs dichloroacetate, which is currently used to treat metabolic disorders. So, there is no concern of side effects or about their long term effects.

This drug doesn’t require a patent, so anyone can employ it widely and cheaply compared to the costly cancer drugs produced by major pharmaceutical companies.

Canadian scientists tested this dichloroacetate (DCA) on human’s cells; it killed lung, breast and brain cancer cells and left the healthy cells alone. It was tested on Rats inflicted with severe tumors; their cells shrank when they were fed with water supplemented with DCA. The drug is widely available and the technique is easy to use, why the major drug companies are not involved? Or the Media interested in this find?

In human bodies there is a natural cancer fighting human cell, the mitochondria, but they need to be triggered to be effective. Scientists used to think that these mitochondria cells were damaged and thus ineffective against cancer. So they used to focus on glycolysis, which is less effective in curing cancer and more wasteful. The drug manufacturers focused on this glycolysis method to fight cancer. This DCA on the other hand doesn’t rely on glycolysis instead on mitochondria; it triggers the mitochondria which in turn fights the cancer cells.

The side effect of this is it also reactivates a process called apoptosis. You see, mitochondria contain an all-too-important self-destruct button that can't be pressed in cancer cells. Without it, tumors grow larger as cells refuse to be extinguished. Fully functioning mitochondria, thanks to DCA, can once again die.

With glycolysis turned off, the body produces less lactic acid, so the bad tissue around cancer cells doesn't break down and seed new tumors.

Pharmaceutical companies are not investing in this research because DCA method cannot be patented, without a patent they can’t make money, like they are doing now with their AIDS Patent. Since the pharmaceutical companies won’t develop this, the article says other independent laboratories should start producing this drug and do more research to confirm all the above findings and produce drugs. All the groundwork can be done in collaboration with the Universities, who will be glad to assist in such research and can develop an effective drug for curing cancer.

You can access the original research for this cancer here.

This article wants to raise awareness for this study, hope some independent companies and small startup will pick up this idea and produce these drugs, because the big companies won’t touch it for a long time.

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"Well, let's get to the rat killing..."


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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 11:44 am 
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Ever heard of cold fusion? It was all the rage for a few weeks because a couple of scientists allegedly had a nuclear reaction going on in beakers in their laboratories. But nobody could reproduce any reaction that could be classified as nuclear (e.g. mass changed). And so now that theory is on the scientific shelf alongside the flat earth theory.

This all sounds interesting, but...

If this article isn't in a peer-reviewed journal, then there's really no way to verify that the findings are real. And the rewards for an academic in far off Edmonton, Alberta getting something like this published are much, much greater than the barriers to getting the information out. So...it fails the first sniff test right there.

The second issue is the not-so-subtle agenda against Pharma. The article appears to be as much about the evils of capitalism as it is about a murky description of a simple, miracle cure explained fairly badly. So that fails a second sniff test.

And finally... the idea that a simple cure won't make it into mainstream, evidence-based medicine is hogwash. A classic example is the work of Warren and Marshall on the connection between h pilori bacteria and duodenal ulcers. Until their discoveries (which won them Nobel prizes), it was assumed that stress and spicey food caused uclers. Pharma made a LOT of money selling H2 antagonist drugs which patients had to take for a lifetime. With h pilori as the cause, a simple course of three common and inexpensive drugs (tetracycline, flagyl, and bizmuth) led to an outright cure of the condition. Detection and treatment for h pilori is now the standard of care. No patents were involved in the making of that cure. But there was a good deal of activity in the peer-reviewed literature which served as a platform to scrutinize their work (quite controversial at the time) and communicate the peer-reviewed findings to a grateful medical audience.

If this cancer "cure" is real, there's a Nobel prize in it for somebody. But apparently Pharma is preventing that from happening. Really??? Final sniff test failure.

I don't doubt that there's an interesting line of research involved. But so far no reputable scientists appear to be jumping on a "cure" bandwagon.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 9:45 am 
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Your quite right Bill-Sensei... your logic (as usual) is impeccable... however, there have been cases where "big pharma" has worked to have a commonly available item regulated or to discredit the benefits of that item when it works, it's cheaper than the "big pharma" products, and it is readily available OTC.

I know of one such item which my MD spouted the "big pharma" talking points about until I showed her that it worked. She's recommended it to other patients with great success. There was a push (from "big pharma") a few years back to have it removed from health-food stores by the FDA.

What I think is missing is the inclusion of the desire to use "government" to regulate away competition in order to maximize profits. And that isn't caused by the type of commerce we have it's caused by having "government" regulation... regardless of the type of "government".


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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 2:59 pm 
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Beyond not passing Bill's sniff tests, there are biological inaccuracies in the article:
Quote:
In human bodies there is a natural cancer fighting human cell, the mitochondria, but they need to be triggered to be effective. Scientists used to think that these mitochondria cells were damaged and thus ineffective against cancer.

Mitochondria are not cells, but rather organelles within cells. Mitochondria have their own DNA so they likely started as independent prokaryotic cells that acquired a symbiotic relationship with eukaryotic cells way back in evolutionary history, but mitochondria do not exist separately from eukaryotic cells now and scientists would never refer to them as "mitochondria cells". Beyond that, mitochondria produce most of the chemical energy human (and other eukaryote) cells need to survive. So in short, mitochondria do not exist outside of human cells and the human cells cannot survive without the mitochondria, which brings us to:
Quote:
Canadian scientists tested this dichloroacetate (DCA) on human’s cells; it killed lung, breast and brain cancer cells and left the healthy cells alone

Quote:
This DCA on the other hand doesn’t rely on glycolysis instead on mitochondria; it triggers the mitochondria which in turn fights the cancer cells.

The side effect of this is it also reactivates a process called apoptosis. You see, mitochondria contain an all-too-important self-destruct button that can't be pressed in cancer cells. Without it, tumors grow larger as cells refuse to be extinguished. Fully functioning mitochondria, thanks to DCA, can once again die.

This description is poorly written, but if I am interpreting it correctly these two quotes taken together indicate that DCA discriminately triggers mitochondria to self-destruct in cancer cells but not healthy cells. I don't buy it, if DCA triggers mitochondria to self destruct I think it would do so in all cells, which would result in an extreme form of mitochondrial disease as both healthy and cancerous cells are starved of energy and die. Sounds like a "kill the patient to cure the disease" solution to me.

This article actually is lacking in a clearly stated mechanism for how DCA supposedly works, but to highlight the various claims:
Quote:
their cells shrank when they were fed with water supplemented with DCA

Quote:
it triggers the mitochondria which in turn fights the cancer cells

Quote:
Fully functioning mitochondria, thanks to DCA, can once again die

Quote:
With glycolysis turned off, the body produces less lactic acid, so the bad tissue around cancer cells doesn't break down and seed new tumors

There are quite a few processes indicated by these claims, not all of which seem likely to co-exist. Basically the author is claiming that DCA does everything that is needed to kill cancer cells without harming anything else. Kinda reminds me of of the stereotypical claims of snake-oil salesmen and the like.

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Glenn


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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 9:57 am 
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Panther wrote:

there have been cases where "big pharma" has worked to have a commonly available item regulated or to discredit the benefits of that item when it works, it's cheaper than the "big pharma" products, and it is readily available OTC.

I know of one such item which my MD spouted the "big pharma" talking points about until I showed her that it worked. She's recommended it to other patients with great success. There was a push (from "big pharma") a few years back to have it removed from health-food stores by the FDA.

I had to sit on this a bit as I'm somewhat sympathetic to the libertarian principles espoused by our friend Panther.

That said... It seems that there's a confusion of principles here. There is the desire to have competition, and then a concern about some of the players in that competitive arena - e.g. "big pharma." And then there's what works, and what remains the best value for the consumer. And let's throw in the reason why some items are OTC (over the counter) while others are prescription only. Or why some items are on patent, and others are available in generic form.

"Big Pharma" - if you like to use that term - exists because it's expensive to create new therapies. Large and well-financed pharmaceutical companies will put years into the development of a new treatment, often leaving dozens of unsafe and not-good-enough therapies in the waste bin along the way. It takes years for a pharmaceutical company to get a return on that investment. Thus laws exist to protect intellectual property rights, which in turn encourage more innovation.

One of the issues with leaving these players unregulated is the consequences of marketing in its many forms. Once a company has a product to sell, well sell it they will. It starts with good-looking pharmaceutical reps giving free lunches to the docs while they educate them on the use of the new therapies. Then there are the free samples (to get the patients liking the new drugs), the direct-to-consumer advertising (convincing Mrs. Jones that she has a condition that needs treating), and of course the "my brand is better than Brand X" marketing wars. Throw in insurance companies trying to keep the cost of health care down, and you have... competition.

Meanwhile, health care spending grows faster than the GDP. That's not sustainable.

It's wonderful that we live longer and better today. But you can't have everything, and we all could certainly do without unnecessary care and the consequences of polypharmacy.

Did I mention what happens when people at "health food stores" without medical degrees push products that affect our health? I'm all for a free, unregulated market, but it seems we have a double standard in our society. In a doctor's office, hospital, and pharmacy you need to have all your degrees in order or you get thrown in jail. But at the local vitamin shop, any bozo can push any pill. What's wrong with this picture?

At the end of the day, buyer beware. Trust the peer-reviewed literature to tell you what works and what doesn't. When accepting advice on your health care, choose your sources very carefully. And when at all possible, choose wellness and a healthy lifestyle over health care as a band-aid for self abuse.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 10:43 am 
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I agree and understand your points. That's why I put "big pharma" in quotes. However, there are a lot of things available that they can't patent, can't make money off of, have been used for very long times successfully (other cultures, other times, other places), and work. There is literature on many of these natural items, but there are concerted efforts to discredit those studies in various ways... from folks with a vested interest in alternatives to their product along with people they're close to in the government. People talk about how powerful certain lobbying groups are... Pharmaceutical lobbists are some of the most powerful and with literally billions of dollars on the line (as you point out... R&D, trials, tests, etc), they throw a lot of money around. Just recently some of the "top MDs" associated with the CDC (from the U.S. & overseas) were caught lying and committing fraud to their own advantage. The problem is that they've harmed... how many? For their own advancement. It's enough to make people (OK... me) question a lot of things that are supposed to be givens. (Then again, I'm the "questioning" type. :wink: )


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