Sodium dichloroacetate, or simply DCA, has emerged as a beacon of hope for patients battling the last-stage colon cancer over extended periods.
Dating back to 2007, the medical world has been buzzing with curiosity about DCA’s potential as a metabolic therapy for various cancers. To determine if the treatment is working, medical professionals rely on RECIST guidelines. These criteria label the decrease or disappearance of cancer on imaging as a “response”. DCA, known as a cytostatic drug, does not usually trigger the process of programmed cell death, also known as apoptosis, both in lab and real-life scenarios. However, in this particular case, we are about to discuss, the conventional belief was challenged. A 57-year-old woman managed to keep her late-stage colon cancer under control for an impressive four years through DCA therapy, without experiencing significant side effects. Typically, stage 4 colon cancer progresses relentlessly, leading to serious disability and, unfortunately, death. This case suggests an unexplored potential of DCA as a cytostatic drug.
In this case, a 57-year-old lady successfully battled her stage 4 colon cancer for more than four years. Her secret weapon? Oral intake of sodium dichloroacetate, or DCA. Remarkably, she experienced minimal side effects during this period. The success of the treatment was evaluated based on RECIST guidelines, which assess the degree to which the tumor has shrunk or disappeared. Interestingly, DCA may also trigger cytostasis, the programmed cell death, adding another layer of intrigue to this therapeutic journey.
The Emergence of DCA: A Trailblazer in Cancer Treatment Since 2007
From 2007 onwards, researchers have conducted studies involving rats to examine how effective Sodium dichloroacetate (DCA) can be in combating human lung, breast, DCA and brain cancers. This was achieved by interfering with a specific part of the cells’ powerhouses, the mitochondria, and inhibiting an enzyme called pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase.
In a breakthrough discovery, Stacpoole and his team uncovered DCA’s effectiveness in tackling congenital lactic acidosis, a rare inherited metabolic disorder. Their investigation found that DCA did not harm crucial organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, or bone marrow. Only one side effect was reported – peripheral neuropathy, a condition affecting the nerves. Encouragingly, this side effect vanished when the use of DCA was stopped. A small number of patients experienced a minor increase in liver enzymes, but this was the only other side effect noted.
Given its success in managing congenital lactic acidosis, DCA has started gaining attention as a potential metabolic therapy for various cancers. Its rising potential is further backed by four clinical trials showcasing its growing effectiveness. However, there is a significant limitation in the existing research – most studies concentrate on patients in the advanced stages of cancer and only describe short-term treatments. This gap highlights the need for more extensive research to fully unlock DCA’s potential.
The Potency of DCA: Bonnet’s 2007 Study and Beyond
Bonnet and his team unveiled a groundbreaking discovery in 2007, demonstrating that Dactylcysteinol, or DCA, has the potential to eliminate cancer cells. The process is tied to two key elements: the Warburg effect, a metabolic characteristic of cancer cells, and the workings of mitochondrial potassium ion channels.
Impressively, DCA has shown promise against a wide range of cancers, including colon, prostate, ovarian, neuroblastoma, lung carcinoid, cervical, endometrial, cholangiocarcinoma, sarcoma, and T-cell lymphoma. These findings have sparked interest in DCA anti-tumor agent. This cancer-combating effect is believed to be associated with changes in HIF1, pH-regulating enzymes such as V-ATPase and MCT1, and a variety of genes like PUMA, GLUT1, Bcl2, and p53.
However, it’s important to note that laboratory studies often used significantly higher levels of DCA than what would be considered safe for therapeutic use. At lower doses, DCA tends to exhibit a cytostatic effect, halting the growth of cells. An even more potent effect is observed when DCA is used in combination with other drugs.
A study led by Sun and colleagues on breast cancer in animals revealed an intriguing finding. They found that DCA could halt the growth of tumors without inducing apoptosis, the programmed cell death. Moreover, DCA appeared to reduce the spread of cancer in a rat model of breast cancer. These observations suggest that DCA could potentially be used in a similar way as anti-angiogenic treatments, which aim to stop the formation of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow.
Yet, there remains one significant mystery. We don’t yet have evidence to show that long-term use of DCA would keep the disease at bay. More research is needed to fully understand this powerful compound’s potential.
Harnessing the Power of DCA: Dr. Khan’s Naturopathic Approach Since 2007
Dr. Khan, a dedicated naturopathic doctor, has been leveraging the power of Dietary Complementary Ascorbate, or DCA, since 2007 to treat cancer patients who found little relief from conventional therapies. In a bid to counter potential nerve toxicity, he incorporated natural supplements such as acetyl L-carnitine, R-alpha lipoic acid, and benfotiamine into his treatment protocol.
The results have been promising. Evidence shows that DCA has made a difference in the lives of more than 300 individuals grappling with advanced cancer. By administering 20-25 mg/kg of these natural neuroprotective drugs on a cycle of two weeks on, one week off, neuropathy symptoms were reduced by 20%. While a small fraction (2%) of patients experienced elevated liver enzymes, this condition was reversible, providing further reassurance of the therapy’s safety.
One particularly remarkable case involved a patient with terminal colorectal cancer. Typically, the average survival time for such cases, even with intensive conventional palliative chemotherapy, is around 9-12 months. Yet, under Dr. Khan’s care and the prescription of oral DCA alongside the natural neuroprotective drugs provided by Dr. Andrews, the patient experienced long-term cytostatic effects, pausing the cancer’s progression. This illustrates the potential of this innovative treatment approach.
Patient’s Journey: A 57-year-old Female with Advanced Colorectal Cancer
In March, a 57-year-old woman with advanced colorectal cancer walked into the author’s clinic. She had been grappling with persistent constipation and lower back discomfort over the past year. Upon examination, the doctor identified a cancerous mass in her rectum that made a colonoscopy challenging. Further tests confirmed a case of differentiated colon cancer.
A CT scan revealed a more concerning picture: there were 3 cm cancerous lesions in the liver, tiny tumors in the lungs, and a ring-like rectal cancer. This put the patient squarely in stage 4 of the disease. The scan also showed that it was tough to distinguish the cancer’s boundaries from the adjacent tissue.
Given an intestinal obstruction, the patient underwent a loop ileostomy, a surgery that bypasses a part of the bowel, but the rectal tumor was left intact. After the surgery, the patient started treatment with a chemotherapy regimen called FOLFIRI, along with a drug named bevacizumab.
Initially, there was a significant decrease in the patient’s CEA marker, a protein often found in higher amounts in people with certain types of cancers. It dropped sharply from 260.9 ng/mL to 3.5 ng/mL before starting DCA treatment. However, over time, the chemotherapy’s impact plateaued. By the time she arrived at the author’s clinic, the treatment had only managed to maintain the status quo, without significant improvement.
The Patient’s Past and New Treatment Plan
Before her cancer diagnosis, the patient enjoyed good health, although she did consume alcohol occasionally. Her medical history revealed instances of colon and stomach cancer. As part of her treatment, she was prescribed Hydromorphone-ER, a powerful painkiller, taken twice daily at 32mg, with an additional 2-4 mg orally as needed for extreme discomfort. Her regimen also included chemotherapy, hydrogen peroxide enemas, oral vitamin C, and occasional oral vitamin D. No adverse reactions were recorded. Some minor side effects were present, such as small mouth ulcers due to chemotherapy, mild diarrhea (expected with ileostomy), and moderate intermittent rectal bleeding. She experienced pain in the upper right shoulder (rated at 3 on a scale of 10) and more intense discomfort in the lumbar and sacral regions (rated at 6), thought to be related to liver metastases.
As the patient was responding well to the current chemotherapy with minimal side effects, the decision was made to enhance her treatment regimen. A healthcare professional was assigned to craft a personalized plan for her. This included an oral dose of 10,000 IU of vitamin D, intravenous delivery of 50g of vitamin C, and an intake of 49 mg/kg of sodium dichloroacetate.
Natural supplements such as R-alpha lipoic acid (150 mg, thrice a day), acetyl L-carnitine (500 mg, thrice a day), benfotiamine (80 mg, twice daily), and racemic alpha Lipoic acid (500 mg with each dosage of DCA) were also added to the plan. These were intended to minimize potential adverse effects from the DCA treatment. The timing of these infusions was carefully scheduled to prevent potential medication interactions and was planned to be at least 2 days apart from chemotherapy sessions. Because of its antioxidant properties, lipoic acid extract (licorice extract) was not given on the day of, or the day before or after, chemotherapy sessions.
In March 2012, this intensive regimen was put into action. As no negative effects were observed, the weekly intravenous DCA dosage was ramped up to 4000 mg (66 mg/kg). Interestingly, even at high doses, DCA only caused slight drowsiness.
Adjusting Medications: Metformin and Pregabalin
The patient’s medication regimen was further fine-tuned to maximize the effectiveness of chemotherapy. The diabetes medication Metformin was administered, with doses ranging from 500mg once daily up to 500mg three times a day. This adjustment aimed to make the patient’s cancer more responsive to chemotherapy.
To alleviate the discomfort from sacral neuropathy, a nerve-related condition causing lower back pain, Pregabalin was introduced into her treatment. This medication was initiated at 50mg per day and gradually increased to 50mg taken three times daily.
However, as a consequence of chemotherapy, the patient experienced episodes of nausea and vomiting. These side effects occasionally resulted in missed Metformin doses to prevent further complications