Wednesday, October 03, 2007

No pharmaceutical companies are involved in the trial, which Michelakis said is because DCA is cheap and can't be patented.

DCA does not appear to harm normal cells, which means there would be none of the debilitating side-effects such as nausea and extreme fatigue associated with conventional cancer therapies.

Researchers around the world have raised $800,000 in grants and donations to fund the clinical trial.


Promising brain cancer drug moves to human trials

Without pharmaceutical money, research funded by donations, grants
Last Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2007 | 2:47 PM ET
CBC News

Researchers at the University of Alberta have been flooded with calls from people volunteering to take part in human trials for a cancer drug that significantly shrunk tumours in rats.

Health Canada has approved dichloroacetate, or DCA, for a limited trial on people with an aggressive brain cancer called glioblastoma. Researchers are looking for 50 patients in Edmonton who have already tried chemotherapy, surgery or radiation with no success.

The university has already received 100 phone calls from potential volunteers.

Known as "The Terminator," the cancer has an average survival rate of one year with conventional therapy, said Dr. Kenn Petruk, head of neurosurgery at the university.

The drug, to be tested over the next 18 months, has already showed it can shrink lung, breast and brain tumours in animal and human tissue experiments. Lead investigator Dr. Evangelos Michelakis said doctors will know early into the trial whether DCA is having any effect.

"In six weeks or so, we will know if the drug will have some efficacy on the tumour," Michelakis said at a news conference Wednesday. "But that doesn't mean that the job is done. We still have to show that the tumour didn't increase or, even better, decreased."

Researchers said DCA cuts tumours off from the glucose they feed on. Without it, cancerous cells die off.

The team will monitor how much glucose the tumours are taking in during the treatments and then watch to see whether they stop growing or even shrink.

No debilitating side-effects expected

DCA does not appear to harm normal cells, which means there would be none of the debilitating side-effects such as nausea and extreme fatigue associated with conventional cancer therapies.

No pharmaceutical companies are involved in the trial, which Michelakis said is because DCA is cheap and can't be patented. Researchers around the world have raised $800,000 in grants and donations to fund the clinical trial.

But Michelakis emphasized that DCA is not a miracle cure.

"Oncology is full of examples of miracle drugs in animals that never make it because they don't work in human beings," he said.

"That's why I want to emphasize of equal importance to this drug itself is the fact that such an effort is taking place and it should inspire other places to develop generic drugs without the support of the industry."

Don't self-medicate, cancer society warns

DCA is already used to treat lactic acid buildup in children as well as patients with diabetes and AIDS.

In March, reports of cancer patients trying to self-medicate with DCA prompted the Canadian Cancer Society to warn people not to use it until it has been fully tested on humans.

Michelakis said it will be six months or more before any results of the clinical trial will be made public.

With files from the Canadian Press

http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2007/09/27/dca-trial.html

Group raising money for MS research
San Antonio Express-News Wed, 03 Oct 2007 3:12 PM PDT
About 4,000 Americans have multiple sclerosis. New treatments have eased the pain, but finding a cure remains elusive.

MS discovery
ABC 7 Chicago Wed, 03 Oct 2007 9:21 AM PDT
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a frustrating disease to treat. there are drugs to help symptoms -- but none that target the cause. Now, a new discovery may help researchers better understand the cause of MS and develop life-saving treatments

Argentina told to pay Sempra $172 million
San Diego Union Tribune - United States
Shares of Biogen Idec fell the most in more than seven months after analysts said the company's forecast for its multiple-sclerosis drug, Tysabri, ...
See all stories on this topic

__________________________________________________--

Drop in Biogen Idec shares biggest since Feb.

Shares of Biogen Idec fell the most in more than seven months after analysts said the company's forecast for its multiple-sclerosis drug, Tysabri, may be too bold. Shares fell $2.28, or 3.36 percent, to close at $65.66. The drop is the biggest since Feb. 15. Biogen Idec had risen 38 percent this year.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based company, which has a research facility in San Diego, last month said it expects 100,000 patients to be using Tysabri by the end of 2010 and projected compound annual growth of 15 percent for revenue through that year. Biogen sells Tysabri with

Irish drug maker Elan Corp.

“Tysabri's long-term expectations in MS look tough to achieve,” David Amsellem, an analyst at Friedman, Billings, Ramsey, said in an investment note.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/business/20071003-9999-1b3bizbrfs.html

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