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  • Health & Medicine

Controversial drug to enter trials for cancer

by Henry Scowcroft | Analysis

28 September 2007

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DCAWe’ve just heard that the controversial drug DCA (dicholoroacetate) is to enter preliminary trials for the treatment of brain tumours.

DCA hit the headlines earlier this year when a laboratory study on rats indicated that it might be able to stop cancers growing.

This prompted people with cancer to start buying the drug online, despite the fact that it there’s no data on its use to treat cancer in humans. Indeed, the drug has only been approved for use to treat a rare metabolic disease, and has some fairly nasty side-effects – including being a potential carcinogen.

As you can imagine, this chain of events caused considerable concern amongst doctors, and here at Cancer Research UK. Eventually the US FDA moved to block sale of the drug online.

So we’re glad that the drug is finally entering trials – it may well prove to be a new cancer treatment, but only time will tell.

The study is being carried out by the Canadian team that made the initial discovery of its anti-cancer potential. It will involve 50 patients with brain tumours.

We await its results with interest.

We’ve written more about DCA and research into it elsewhere on this blog.