Respectful Insolence

Yes, I know that my blog buddy Abel wrote a post with almost exactly the same title as this. No, I’m not mindlessly aping him. I’m doing it because of what Abel revealed in his post: That most of his referrals lately have been Google searches looking for information on where to buy dichloroacetate, a.k.a. DCA.

I, too, have noticed a lot of referrals to my original post on DCA, in which I tried to explain why it isn’t the “cure” for cancer that some have been touting it as, most recently, a rather annoying troll going by the name of Robert Smith who’s been infesting my blog lately in my posts about DCA. (Sadly, he’s also infested Abel’s blog as well.) Indeed, this post on DCA got a referral from Reddit, resulting in by far the biggest single-day influx of readers that this blog has experienced, over 20,000. No other post that I’ve written has come close to that large a readership, and no other post that I’ve written in two years of blogging has been linked to as widely. It’s not even close. All of this reveals just what I feared about the excessive hype. The interest level is high and way precedes any evidence of clinical utility in humans against cancer. There are those out there who think that I was too hard on some of the bloggers who helped fuel this hype; they don’t see the pernicious effects of the false hope that such hype fuels among desperate patients or realize what it can lead to.

I do.

Already, I’m finding evidence of people trying to buy DCA and use it, all with no evidence that it works in humans, no knowledge of what an effective dose might be in humans or how long to use it even if it does have a therapeutic effect against human cancer, and without a knowledge of potential problems, several of which have been described by Abel.

Consequently, given Abel’s revelation, I thought I’d title a post with a title of where to buy DCA as well. My hope is that Abel’s and my posts on DCA will all show up on Google searches by people looking to buy DCA on the basis of one over-hyped animal study to provide a little balance and to echo Abel’s plea:

Again, if you stumbled on this post by looking for where you can buy dichloroacetate (DCA), please do not use the substance and please consult with your oncologist if you are thinking of doing so. While DCA has been the subject of clinical trials for rare metabolic diseases, it has never been tested in cancer patients. We have no idea how DCA will affect the metabolism of other drugs, including chemotherapy, and I am concerned since high doses can have dramatic effects on systemic pH and kidney function.

[…]

I would also encourage oncology professionals to be on the lookout for cancer patients with unexplained changes in renal function or electrolytes – as DCA is widely-available, there is a high probability that clinical professionals will be encountering patients with DCA toxicity if my search queries are any indication of the pervasiveness of interest in this as-yet untested therapy for human cancers.

Indeed.

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 Ahistoricality
    February 12, 2007

    Annoying troll … who’s been infesting my blog lately in my posts about DCA. (Sadly, he’s also infested Abel’s blog as well.)

    Is this our chance to talk about the viral model of trolling? Are trolls more like viruses, bacteria or parasites? And if so, what’s the appropriate homeopathic treatment?

  2. #2 Thony C.
    February 12, 2007

    “And if so, what’s the appropriate homeopathic treatment?”

    Just keep adding water and shaking until there is no trace left.

  3. #3 Darrel
    February 12, 2007

    This is so sad. We don’t have people en masse looking to buy vaccinations on google. Vaccines that have proven safe and effective in human clinical trials.

    But when DCA shows promising results on rats BAM! it’s a cure for cancer.

  4. #4 Shygetz
    February 13, 2007

    I would argue that trolls are like parasites. They rarely seem to form troll-troll communities. They often have non-troll stages in their troll-cycle, and can survive quite well in these troll-quiescent stages. Once they latch on to a host, they tend to troll only until they are satiated, and then they often either go dormant or drop off and find a different host. Host immunity can develop, but it is quite difficult with trolls (in contrast to the more rapidly proliferating spammer-virus, which pops up but is quickly cleared by a strong defense system) and usually results in only partial resistance to reinfection.

    And some people like to intentionally infest themselves with trolls, trading the pain for expected benefits in visitors (Trollhausen syndrome).

  5. #5 blf
    February 13, 2007

    I thought the way to deal with trolls was with a billygoat?

    http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0122e.html

  6. #6 TheProbe
    February 13, 2007

    Trolls have homeopathic intelligence.

  7. #7 Andrew Dodds
    February 14, 2007

    What I’d like to see is some sort of reporting system – so that if a cancer patient insists on taking some alternative/unproven treatement on top of chemo, then at least dosage, disease progression and possible side effects could be recorded on a central database. It would at least screen things like this ‘on the cheap’, and anything drastic (i.e. everyone dies/lives) found.

  8. #8 boojieboy
    February 15, 2007

    Hey ORAC:

    Those of you who have blogged recently about DCA may want to be alert, now that this new report is in circulation

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16975360/

    Watch out for interest shifting to this stuff, whatever it is.

    Actually, what is it? It only gives a name for the class of chemicals “PPAR-gamma modulator” not the specific compound. Of course, if it’s a patented compound, we won’t find out exactly what it is for years, I would guess.

  9. #9 Robster
    February 15, 2007

    From the article mentioned by boojieboy:

    Tests in mice suggest the compound helps break down the cell walls of tumors, almost like destroying a tumor cell’s “skeleton”.

    ANIMAL CELLS DON’T HAVE CELL WALLS! Reporter needs to sit in on my BIO100 class.

    They are talking about breaking down the cytoskeleton, and of that, only microtubules.

    PPARgamma was mildly related to my dissertation (worked with butyric acid), I’ll see if I can’t go back and find out some of the details. Here’s a quickie, though.

    Not exactly sure how they are related to the cytoskeleton, so it should make for interesting reading.

  10. #10 DaveScot
    February 15, 2007

    Already, I’m finding evidence of people trying to buy DCA and use it, all with no evidence that it works in humans, no knowledge of what an effective dose might be in humans or how long to use it even if it does have a therapeutic effect against human cancer, and without a knowledge of potential problems, several of which have been described by Abel.

    How dare these people not die quietly while DCA undergoes years of clinical evaluation for cancer efficacy. The nerve of them. It boggles the mind.

    Have you seen this website?

    http://www.thedcasite.com

    Some guy actually secured 250 kilograms of pharmaceutical grade dichloroacetic acid from China, is in the process of buffering and packaging it, and is going to sell it for veterinary use a week from now. Orac, you need to tell those people considering taking DCA, those people who no longer have any other FDA approved options to treat their cancers, that they’re being irresponsible for not going quietly into the night, that they have no right to rage against the dying of the light. Do you duty, Orac. Tell them Father FDA Knows Best.

  11. #11 Robster
    February 15, 2007

    Have to wonder if Dave is a dcasite-shill. How much they payin you?

  12. #12 DaveScot
    February 17, 2007

    Robster

    I doubt they could afford me even if I wanted to come out of retirement. I’m just an interested observer. I don’t have cancer or know anyone who does (at the moment). The guy who started the DCA site discovered DCA by reading my articles on Uncommon Descent so I have a personal interest in how it turns out. There is now one person writing there who obtained a supply of DCA (works in the medical profession so was able to order pharmaceutical grade dichloroacetate acid sodium salt from TCI America), put it into 500mg capsules, and is taking two doses of 1000mg per day for 25mg/kg as used in the congenital lactic acidosis phase 2 trial. He’s also taking 500mg of vitamin B1 to counter possible side-effect neuropathy. He has metastatic prostate cancer. We’ll all know in 60 days or less whether DCA works in humans or not. If not for avarice we could have known two years ago. If it turns out the stuff works I don’t know how the discovers will be able to sleep at night knowing they sat on this for 2 years trying to find a way to profit from it.

  13. #13 Rosalie
    February 17, 2007

    I really would like to know where I can buy these pills? Can anyone help me?

  14. #14 Steve
    February 19, 2007

    I dont have cancer, just wondering if it can be used as a preventative measure? Reading some of the articles,, have to say that i do not beleive, and for good reason that such a cure would ever hit the shelves…. There are some groups of elite cults, O.T.O,, N.W.O god bless em which indeed do run most goverments, They are trying to reduce the world population not increase it, and if theres no money to be made or bugets to increase, u can guarantee it will not be availible to the public,, There 4 i want to secure mine,, point me to a website where i can buy it,, and not counterfit china brand either…. THX BTW since this is a medical board hehe… and conspiracy was talked about, Why is it that, (not sure which was made public first) alberta university research or Irans so called cure for aids….. I think that if it was iran that made there anouncement first, then we have been sitting on this cancer cure and probobly alot of other cures for a long time, seems to convienent and obvious that we would just come out of no where and counter there anouncment, as in we trumped your big discovery with a more amazing cure that will help people who are innocent victims of cancer,, Aids is kinda a individual persons fault, not always ofcourse, and same with cancer, smokers and fat people, Aids man-made?? by U.N redcross?? to depopulize the world? Maybe some other country should say they discovered a perpetual motion device and maybe they will let us buy ours that have already been made!….

  15. #15 Robb
    February 21, 2007

    Your opinions are worthless as you don’t have terminal cancer. If you did, and your doctors told you that they have done everything for you, and there was something – anything that could give you some hope of lasting another day to spend with your family, you’d try it. So until you face it, shut you pie hole.

  16. #16 Robster
    February 21, 2007

    So, if I contract a terminal disease, I can cease making decisions in a rational manner?

  17. #17 Emmet
    March 5, 2007

    It’s one thing being a sceptic, but it’s quite another to have the arrogance to deliberately attract dying people desperate for a cure, so that YOU can earn tons of money from your advertising clicks.

    You must think that people have nothing better to do than think about your posts, your blog, trolling, and what your opinion is about whether dca works or not. Lucky you that you have high PR.

    Why are you trying to get 20000 hits out of people dying? You will discourage x% of people from continuing with DCA based on your knowledge or lack of.

    You have therefore made decisions about other people’s lives (and made a profit from it). Therefore, you need to be damn sure that you know that it doesn’t work, before you interfere with other people’s investigations.

    What’s the next step? Start a page called “911 emergency services”?
    Respectfully, please “get off the channel”.

  18. #18 Orac
    March 5, 2007

    It’s one thing being a sceptic, but it’s quite another to have the arrogance to deliberately attract dying people desperate for a cure, so that YOU can earn tons of money from your advertising clicks.

    Oh, please, give me a break. Abel and I are trying to save desperate patients from wasting their money on what is almost certainly false hope and scams.

    Perhaps you should save your anger for the cynical “entrepreneurs” taking advantage of these dying patients to sell DCA “for pets” even though they know very well that humans, not pets, will use it.

  19. #19 Emmet
    March 14, 2007

    Ok, I accept your point. It’s your right, and you’re doing what you believe in, and you’re doing your best to help people.

    We just have different points of view on the subject, – sorry if I was mad.

  20. #20 steppen wolf
    March 14, 2007

    Just to follow up: buyDCA.com is now advertising through google, and the product changed name – it is now called Vet-DCA.

    I would just have one question for Orac: I am no expert, but given that the researchers at U of A have filed a use patent, isn’t selling DCA to cure cancer illegal, as this use has already been patented?

    Also, note that they published the NMR spectra of their compound. They have been changing/removing things from their websites, especially from the forum.

    So, Emmet, these people are not as nice as they seem. You might want to look at the prices on the bottles. And by the way, let me give you an example of why this whole discussion has been going on (definetely not for Orac’s personal financial benefit…)
    Arsenic trioxide is being tested as a chemo for various cancers, but does that mean you can go out there and drink arsenic to cure “cancer” (as in: all cancers)? And buy it from non-qualified sellers, instead of going through proper trials AND medical supervision?
    Mmmmm….yes, you got it.

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