Alberta scientists test chemotherapy alternative
Canadian scientists believe they are getting closer to an alternative to chemotherapy, an alternativethatwould notcarry debilitating side-effects such as nausea and extreme fatigue.
Researchers inAlberta said they've discovered an anti-cancer agent that could be put into a powder form and dissolved in a glass of water, and would cost far less than traditional chemotherapy.
Early trials in animals showed promising results, the team reported in this week's issue of the journal Cancer Cell.
The small, non-toxic molecule, known as dichloroacetate, or DCA, shrunk lung, breast and brain tumours in animal and human tissue experiments.
DCA appears to repair damaged mitochondria in cancer cells. In normal cells, the tiny structures normally convert food into energy and trigger cell death.
In cancer cells, the mitochondria do not work properly and the cells do not die, growing out of control.
Until recently, researchers believed mitochondria affected by cancer were permanently damaged, but Dr. Evangelos Michelakis, a professor of medicine atthe University of Alberta in Edmonton, questioned theidea experimentally.
DCA didnot appear to harm normal cells, his team found.
Since DCA it is already used to treat lactic acid buildup in children and a lack of blood flow to the heart, it could be tested as a cancer therapy in humans immediately, the researchers said.