DCA (Dichloroacetate) – Theories About How It Works To Treat Cancer From The Michelakis Team

We’ve talked about the use of dichloroacetate (DCA) for the treatment of various cancers before.


In summary, the data that is available from lab experiments, a small clinical trial conducted by a team from the University of  Alberta, and other small trials strongly indicates that DCA can cause dramatically positive effects when used to treat some cancers.

You can find the results of the clinical trial and information about how the dichloroacetate was dosed in this article – http://dca-information.pbworks.com/f/Metabolic%20Modulation%20of%20Glioblastoma%20with%20Dichloroacetate.pdf.

Anyway, I’ve been reading a Springer Science book titled ‘Mitochondria and Cancer’ over the past week or so, and I thought the information contained in one of the chapters would be of interest to you because it quite clearly defines how the Michelakis team thinks DCA works to cut down cancer loads and progression.

The chapter is titled Reversing the Warburg Effect: Metabolic Modulation as a Novel Cancer Therapy, and it is written by Gopinath Sutendra and Evangelos D. Michelakis.

Unfortunately, I cannot provide you with a link to this book – and it is actually quite expensive. However, you might be able to track down a copy of it at a university library somewhere, or the reference librarian at a library near you might be able to get you a pdf copy of this particular chapter.

But, to make the best of the situation I will summarize what the chapter says.

First, it is important to understand that the role inhibition of mitochondrial function plays in the survival of many cancers is known by all.

But, there continues to be a great debate over whether it’s the bottom line cause of cancer progression or the result of the conditions generated by the cancer itself.

In this chapter the authors present the proposal that the mitochondrias’ function has been disabled as the result of an environment that prevented proper function (e.g. a lack of oxygen), and that – for some reason – once the cells’ metabolism has been altered to compensate for the mitochondria’s inactivation, the cells resist turning them back on once the unfavorable conditions have been remedied.

Having the mitochondria disabled causes the membrane surrounding the mitochondria to become more negatively charged than they normally would be, and this prevents the exit of several substances from the mitochondria that are necessary for the induction of apoptosis (programmed cell death) .

By inactivating an enzyme that blocks the flow of a key substance that is required by the mitochondria, DCA works to reestablish the flow – thus enabling the mitochondria to resume proper function.

Apparently, using DCA to unlock the strangle hold that the cancer cell’s metabolism puts on the mitochondria allows the mitochondrial membrane to return to its normal voltage level – with a subsequent release of the substances that normalize the cell’s functions and signal the cell to progress to apoptosis.

The authors note that this phenomenom does not occur in all cancer types, but does appear to be present in most. A list of the types that may not exhibit it is also listed in the article.

As always, I’m a Pharmacist. Talk to your physician before trying any new medication or supplement… and/or changing your medication regimen.

One thought on “DCA (Dichloroacetate) – Theories About How It Works To Treat Cancer From The Michelakis Team

  1. Hi Barbara, there are a number of difefrent mitochondrial myopathies, all with difefrent mechanisms. The short answer is that trying PQQ is always an option, but at this point it may only be a “shot in the dark”. For example, resveratrol in animal models protects against peripheral deficits of Huntington’s disease, but a search for resveratrol and mitochondrial myopathies does not indicate that much work has been done addressing such questions. There is now 100s of papers on resveratrol. Given that both resveratrol and PQQ seem to work by related mechanisms, we did the search with the hope of finding something that may be useful. Regrettably, such information is not available at this time on resveratrol or pyrroloquinoline quinone.

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