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March 27, 2014
Dichloroacetic Acid, In a New Form
Remember dichloroacetic acid? In 2007, there was a stir about it as a cancer therapy, and on internet forums you still see it referenced as a "cancer cure" that no drug company will touch because it's unpatentable/doesn't have to be taken forever/too cheap/not evil enough, etc.
The people spreading that stuff around don't know how to use PubMed, because a look through the literature will show that DCA is still an active area of research (in some cases, involving people who've taken it on their own). Interestingly, PubMed also makes it apparent that the rest of the literature on the compound is in its role as a water pollutant. But the problem with it as a drug is that it has poor pharmacokinetics. Its site of action is the mitochondrion, but it doesn't do a very good job of getting there (as one would expect from a small molecular weight carboxylic acid, especially one that's as ionized as this one is at body pH).
So here's an attempt to do something about that. The authors, from the University of Georgia, tether several DCA molecules to a scaffold that should do a better job of targeting mitochondria. They go as far as cellular data to prove the point, but there's nothing in vivo (I'm not sure what would happen in that case, but it would seem worth finding out).
This, one should note, is a new molecule, and one that was perfectly capable of being patented - it has novelty, and it apparently has more utility for its stated purpose. Every time you hear about how Evil Pharma won't work on X, or Y, or Z, because "they can't patent it", keep in mind that we here at Evil Pharma know a lot of ways to patent things. Part of what makes us so darn evil, you know.
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