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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Alberta DCA drug firm garners award

The University of Alberta-spinoff firm responsible for developing the controversial drug dichloroacetate (DCA) was at Bioalberta's annual meeting on November 28.

Cardiometabolics Inc, based in Edmonton, is studying the use of a type of DCA "as a potential therapy to improve heart function, surgical outcomes, patient quality of life and increase speed of recovery. The trial is being conducted at the University of Alberta Hospital in high risk geriatric patients following open heart surgery."

That research is taking place in parallel to another, more controversial study into DCA's anti-tumour effects.

Research from the University of Alberta spawned a spate of n-of-1 DCA trials in unsupervised metastatic cancer patients, , who worried that patients could be endangering themselves by buying the chemical online and trying it without a physician's help.

"He's a pest exterminator with a biology degree who's hired a chemist and is profiting from desperate people," said Dr Michelakis of in the Edmonton Sun back in the spring. "He is bypassing every regulatory principle that exists to ensure pharmaceuticals are safe and selling hope for money. It's horribly unethical."

DCA enthusiasts are, nevertheless, acquiring and imbibing the substance in greater and greater quantities; much discussion about methods of procuring and administering the drug is found on another site owned by Mr Tassano, .

At least two physicians in Canada -- Drs Akbar and Humaira Khan of Medicor Cancer Centres, in Toronto -- are , NRM reported this summer. "I'm pretty confident we're not harming anyone," Dr Akbar Khan told me at the time.

In the meantime, Cardiometabolics's DCA trials are still in its infancy. Health Canada approved a phase I and a phase II trial (PDF).

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  3. The trial is being conducted at the University of Alberta Hospital in high risk geriatric patients following open heart surgery."

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