By Ed Cara
That is, a mass conspiracy between the pharmaceutical companies to suppress miracle cures for some of our most debilitating diseases like cancer from the general public, all in an effort to keep their wallets fat and us, the consumers, perpetually sick.
One of these so-called miracle cures has been making the rounds as bona-fide proof that Big Pharma is out to keep us down. It’s called DCA (dichloroacetic acid) and it’s being touted as a legitimate cure for cancer around the net, including in this recent article that’s finding its way across Facebook walls everywhere.
It’s cheap, side-effect free and destroys cancer cells on command. And yet, so the story goes, DCA is being suppressed by drug companies because it can’t be patented and made profitable. While millions suffer from cancer, the companies stand idle, eager to live off the pain of their consumers. So they say.
On its face, it sounds not entirely implausible; drug companies are hardly known for their ethics so why wouldn’t they do everything they could to make sure they make their money? And those doctors are always hiding something or other, why not this miracle cure that’ll completely chase away all their potential clients? The story appeals to us because it’s wrapped up in such a pretty bow; bad guys trying to hurt us and a few vigilant people trying to expose the truth to the greater public through a grassroots campaign. When you look beyond the rhetoric though, you find that things are rarely that black and white.
So what is the truth behind DCA?
Well first things first, DCA really is an unpatented chemical and drug that has existed for years, its main use being an occasional treatment for certain rare metabolic disorders. And there have indeed been efforts launched by small research labs to look into DCA as a potential treatment for some cancers; with the researchers believing DCA has the ability to force cancer cells to regress back (putting it very simplistic here – more detail is provided in an earlier article by Les Ogilvie) to a normal cell state and thus trigger cell death. They even had some preliminary research showing that very effect in cell cultures and rats back in 2007. But right about there’s when reality took a step aside and let hype and blind optimism take over.
News report after report (and youtube video) lauded the 2007 study as proof that the CANCER CURE had finally been found, when in actuality, all the study proved was that DCA should be looked at more. And that’s exactly what it happened, with those same researchers starting small clinical human trials, and with varying levels of success. The only problem is that based on that hype, some doctors have already begun selling DCA to desperate people eager for that miracle hope (strangely with no published data of how their patients actually responded though) while predictably others have taken the chance to fleece those same desperate people with fake DCA pills and treatments.
In science though, nothing ever comes that easily.
DCA might be that wonder drug that destroys cancer cells with little risk and at an affordable cost. Or it might be another in a long line of promising but ultimately ineffective drugs; the effect we see in rats and test tubes not being able to translate to flesh and blood humans. Even the claim that it is entirely risk free has already come under question, with one study showing that DCA might actually increase the tumor size of certain cancers in rats. Far from being the miracle cure to end all cures, DCA’ll most likely be somewhere in the middle; a drug that opens the gate to a new approach to battling cancer. But right now? It’s a mostly unproven and unstudied drug that has a long way to go in human trials before anything conclusive can be said about its cancer fighting ability.
As for the pharmaceutical companies?
There’s a nugget of truth there too. It’s true that there would be no money in DCA for those drug companies as it stands, with the amount of money that would have to go into funding those needed human studies being impractical for any company to take on. There’s a reason why drugs are expensive and it’s not just so CEOs can line their limos with caviar felt (the best kind of felt), it’s because it’s insanely expensive to bring any one drug to market. The period of time a drug is exclusively one company’s is meant to allow them to recoup those costs (and then some of course). There’s plenty wrong to find with the business practices of any privately owned company but the sad reality is that DCA makes little sense to pursue for drug companies, even if it was that miracle cure (and it isn’t). If anything, DCA is a prime example of why public money should be used to fund scientific research; because often times what’s most profitable won’t be what’s most beneficial.
Now does that mean it’s been intentionally suppressed by those drug companies? No, it just means they’re not throwing millions of dollars into an untested and unproven drug that makes zero financial sense to invest in. Heartless maybe. But no vast conspiracy here.
The one shining spark out of all this could be that the supporters of DCA, including those researchers, are slowly but surely finding the funding to put their potential panacea to the test. Not just through government funds, but through public donations. And as of November, even the unpatented status of DCA has changed, with the University of Colorado being issued a patent for the use of DCA specifically as a cancer-fighting treatment.
In the end though, only time and good science will tell just how much of a miracle DCA really is. And that unfortunately is not nearly as flashy or as polarizing a story for us to link on our Facebook walls.