L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

17 January 2007 Blog Home : January 2007 : Permalink

Yo Cancer Charities - What's Your Excuse?

The Englishman's Castle draws my attention to this.

It is rare to find a drug that sweeps away decades of assumptions and reveals a radical approach to treating all forms of a disease. But a simple, small molecule called dichloroacetate (DCA) has done just that - and to that most dreaded of diseases: cancer.

The new findings, might also force a rethink on what actually causes cells to turn cancerous in the first place.


There's a hitch: dichloroacetate is an old drug and so cannot be patented. The upshot is that pharmaceutical companies can’t stop rivals making and selling it more cheaply, so it’s not worth their while to go to the huge expense of testing it in clinical trials.

This is not a new problem. Many drugs are left on the shelf because companies cannot make lots of money from them. It has happened for diseases that affect mainly poor people, such as TB, although there are now an increasing number of initiatives to help deal with these cases. But cancer is historically a disease that chiefly afflicts the rich, and testing DCA will need a one-off effort.

The claim seems to be only lartge pharmaceutical companies can run drug trials. Apparently because only drug companis can afford the money. You will excuse me if I call "Bullshit" on that. Why cannot charities such as Cancer Reseach UK not run the trial? They spent £257 million on scientific research in 2005/6. Drug trials cost a few million per year to run and this one would seem to be right up their street. One hopes some charity will step up to the plate and fund this research before too long.

I despise l'Escroc and Vile Pin