Respectful Insolence

Dichloroacetate: One last time…

At the risk of irritating a fellow ScienceBlogger again, I thought I’d point out this little post forwarded to me by Norm Jenson as yet another example of exactly the inflated hype for dichloroacetate as a “cure for cancer” that will “never see the light of day” because it has little profit potential (and, by the way, that pharmaceutical companies will “probably lobby against it with all their might”) that I was talking about in my original post on the subject.

I should have taken a β-blocker before clicking on the link.

Given the level of silly rhetoric in the post above and even despite the fact that near the end he stops ranting and suggests that there should be some sort of program to support the development of unpatentable drugs, a not unreasonable suggestion that runs jarringly counter to all the conspiracy-mongering and “cure for cancer” hyperbole that led up to it (ooops, sorry, I’m not supposed to label DCA hyping-bloggers attacking big pharma as “conspiracy mongers,” “ignorant,” or “hysterical” anymore), hopefully, no one will be too annoyed with me for introducing this particular blogger, one Oren Goldschmidt, to Orac’s cluestick from last week. Don’t worry; it won’t hurt him. After all, as I’ve explained before, it’s just a mini-truncheon, given that I’m only a microfascist when it comes to the evidence.

There. I feel better now.

ADDENDUM: Looks like the cluestick (or someone else’s cluestick, anyway) got to another one, if the “Editor’s Note” on this awful article that I mentioned before is any indication. Unfortunately, Dean Esmay, as he is when it comes to his HIV/AIDS denialism and vitamin C woo, remains, as usual, utterly immune to the cluestick.

ADDENDUM: Walnut has posted his critique on Daily Kos as well.

All Orac posts on DCA:

  1. In which my words will be misinterpreted as “proof” that I am a “pharma shill”
  2. Will donations fund dichloroacetate (DCA) clinical trials?
  3. Too fast to label others as “conspiracy-mongers”?
  4. Dichloroacetate: One more time…
  5. Laying the cluestick on DaveScot over dichloroacetate (DCA) and cancer
  6. A couple of more cluesticks on dichloroacetate (DCA) and cancer
  7. Where to buy dichloroacetate (DCA)? Dichloroacetate suppliers, even?
  8. An uninformative “experiment” on dichloroacetate
  9. Slumming around The DCA Site (TheDCASite.com), appalled at what I’m finding
  10. Slumming around The DCA Site (TheDCASite.com), the finale (for now)
  11. It’s nice to be noticed
  12. The deadly deviousness of the cancer cell, or how dichloroacetate (DCA) might fail
  13. The dichloroacetate (DCA) self-medication phenomenon hits the mainstream media
  14. Dichloroacetate (DCA) and cancer: Magical thinking versus Tumor Biology 101
  15. Checking in with The DCA Site
  16. Dichloroacetate and The DCA Site: A low bar for “success”
  17. Dichloroacetate (DCA): A scientist’s worst nightmare?
  18. Dichloroacetate and The DCA Site: A low bar for “success” (part 2)
  19. “Clinical research” on dichloroacetate by TheDCASite.com: A travesty of science
  20. A family practitioner and epidemiologist are prescribing dichloracetate (DCA) in Canada
  21. An “arrogant medico” makes one last comment on dichloroacetate (DCA)

Posts by fellow ScienceBlogger Abel Pharmboy:

  1. The dichloroacetate (DCA) cancer kerfuffle
  2. Where to buy dichloroacetate…
  3. Local look at dichloroacetate (DCA) hysteria
  4. Edmonton pharmacist asked to stop selling dichloroacetate (DCA)
  5. Four days, four dichloroacetate (DCA) newspaper articles
  6. Perversion of good science
  7. CBC’s ‘The Current’ on dichloroacetate (DCA)

Comments

  1. #1 Andrew Dodds
    January 31, 2007

    I’m just waiting for the DCA-spam to start up.. Even Big Pharma can’t stop spam, apparently.

  2. #2 Oren Goldschmidt
    January 31, 2007

    Partially inspired by your response, there’s now a foreword;

    http://e-cclesiastes.blogspot.com/2007/01/now-that-weve-cured-cancer.html

  3. #3 Greco
    January 31, 2007

    Whenever I hear/read someone talking about “cure for cancer, singular”, I tend to discount that person as an ignorant fool.

  4. #4 Joe
    January 31, 2007

    I wonder if the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has not skewed the financing of drug research. I believe Orac suggested a Phase 2 clinical study could be done for less than $100 million. My rough calculation says this is 0.05% of the funds the foundation must spend every year, and it seems like exactly the type of thing they have in mind.

  5. #5 Orac
    January 31, 2007

    Actually, a phase II trial could be done for a few million dollars (even as little as one or two); nowhere near $100 million would be needed. It’s the Phase III studies that start running into the tens of millions of dollars.

  6. #6 PlanetaryGear
    January 31, 2007

    can’t really blame the general populace for thinking it’s a conspiracy ;) How many times have we heard about something that worked so well in the test tube that it made the press before in-situ tests were begun and nothing panned out. So we continually hear about these magical discoveries and then reality continues to be real and nothing so exciting happens ;)

    So it’s easy to understand why people think that these profit conspiracies are real.

    Meanwhile I just hope that the studies of other drugs that may be even more effective at generating the same response in cancer cells can continue to be tested and I’ll await those trials as well.

  7. #7 Ivan A. D'mocracy
    January 31, 2007

    Oh crap people! Look, I am probably atypical in regards to the rest of the non-scientist group of society in the fact that I am fortunate enough to be more informed than the average bear. Admittedly though, I have no justifiable basis for discriminating what is good science and what is not (I’m a high tech businessman with no formal science training whatsoever – just an undying passion for the wonderment of what science can enlighten mankind about, and generally all things “wow”).

    So the problem is, “how would I know” the truth and validity of any of these things at all? Ever. DCA – is it good or not? I, like everyone else in the modern world, know of people that are indeed dying right friggin’ now from cancers.

    Maybe “open-source” sounds good. Could there (or is there?) ever be an open source wikepedia-type generally “understandable” resource for types like me?

    I mean crap, everyone must understand that everytime these kinds of things come out, if they are debunked, then “S”cience gets the blame (“oh-oh – looks like we can’t trust scientists again – big pharma and all that is out to screw the masses – no way to protect myself except go natural”).

    And that would be for the lucky few that are well enough connected to understand that the claim was ever indeed debunked.

    What to do? What to do?

  8. #8 Cain
    January 31, 2007

    I’d like to grab as much credit as I can for getting the S. Miss paper to retract. Even if all I did was link to Orac :) Hail me!

  9. #9 Jeff
    February 15, 2007

    Risking being labelled one of the “hyper-bloggers”,

    I’ve created a completely non-profit, unbiased site:

    http://www.dichloroacetate.org

    My opinion on DCA is simple:

    We don’t know if it works.
    We don’t know if it doesn’t work.

    The reason we may never know, is because of $$$.

    For that reason, I feel the growing awareness on the internet is both necessary and healthy.

    Maybe it will lead to something good for DCA. Maybe it will push for changes in the way clinical trials are funded. Any awareness for cancer is good.

  10. #10 Orac
    February 15, 2007

    I would counter that the “growing awareness” on the Internet is not healthy if it’s mostly misinformation and excessive hype–as it is in the case of DCA.

    As for the clinical trial, it’s being organized as you type. A compound this interesting will attract funding.

  11. #11 JF
    April 8, 2007

    I happen to work for Big Pharma and, after having read this story, I was minded to email our CEO with a suggestion that we should stump up some cash for a trial. Why? Because Big Pharma is incredibly sensitive to matters of reputation and this situation needs defusing. I think, as do most scientists who read this, that DCA probably has some very important lessons to teach us about cancer and that it will have a measurable effct upon some human tumours. I don’t think it will be a cure.

    I am, however, firmly of the opinion that the most responsible way that any pharma could approach this issue is by donating to a fund for clinical trials. It would show that the company had a commitment to public health that matched its commitment to profit, but also set an example for encouraging sane and measured approaches to potentially groundbreaking discoveries.

    A flipside to all this paranoid crap about the drugs companies stifling beneficial research is the wishful thinking that DCA is a miracle cure. It probably isn’t, and certainly isn’t as long as the clinical trials haven’t been performed.