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DCA (dichloroacetate sodium) treatment for cancer

Dichloroacetate sodium (DCA) is an inexpensive and simple chemical compound similar to combining vinegar and salt. It was originally used in cases of a rare disease called “congenital lactic acidosis.” This means it is not a “new” drug and has been used safely in humans for decades. Studies from this application of DCA indicate mild to moderate side effects.

DCA is available in several forms including topical cream, oral liquid, oral capsules, and via intravenous.

The history of DCA

In 2007 at the University of Alberta, DCA, a simple molecule, was found to kill off cancer cells in breast, brain and lung cancers in rats, while not harming healthy cells. [1] It was observed that DCA would turn on natural apoptosisA type of cell death in which a series of molecular steps in a cell lead to its death. This is one method the body uses to get rid of unneeded or abnormal cells. The process of apoptosis may be blocked in cancer cells. Also called programmed cell death. (cell death) in the cancerous cells of lab rats. It was also observed that DCA blocked the process by which glucoseA type of sugar; the chief source of energy for living organisms. is used by cancer cells, thus removing their energy source and starving them. Notably, it did not block the use of glucose by healthy cells. Researchers worldwide have confirmed the University of Alberta’s findings.

Studies with human subjects were first published in 2010, confirming DCA to be effective for treating glioblastoma (a type of brain cancer). [2]

DCA research is ongoing and can be followed here.

What types of cancer

There is evidence that DCA is effective for many types of cancer cells. Based on both lab studies and human studies along with case reports, the types of cancer studied thus far include brain, breast, cervical, colon, lung, lymphoma, ovarian, prostate, uterine, and cancer of an unknown primary source.

It has also been found to boost the effectiveness of radiation. [3]

Side effects of DCA

Mild to moderate side effects include gastrointestinal issues, mood changes, sedation, confusion, memory issues, hand tremors, and reversible neuropathy (when caught early). A small percentage of patients experience mild liver toxicity. It is usually recommended that patients who experience moderate levels of one or more side effects be taken off DCA as a precaution. The majority of side effects have been observed to resolve within days, save for neuropathy which can take several weeks to reverse.


There has been some evidence that DCA potentially interacts with hallucinogenic drugs including cannabinoids, benzodiazepines, and other central nervous system drugs, particularly when the patient is already experiencing a level of neurological side effects.

There has also been some evidence that high levels of caffeine can inhibit the effectiveness of DCA.

Where can I get DCA?

In the US, Canada and most of Europe, DCA is prescribed by a doctor. It is discouraged to obtain DCA from any other means, as some types of DCA are not suitable for human consumption.


The future

No one owns the rights to DCA. The research done so far has been funded largely by a generous public. Further studies are in the works, and results look very promising.

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  1. Medicor |
  2. Case Report of Long Term Complete Remission of Metastatic Renal Squamous Cell Carcinoma after Palliative Radiotherapy and Adjuvant Dichloroacetate |
  3. Generic drug may be potential treatment for deadly brain cancer: U of A medical study |
  4. Metabolic Modulation of Glioblastoma with Dichloroacetate, Science Translational Medicine, Vol 2, Issue 31 |
  5. Khan Hippocrates Lecture on DCA Therapy |

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