What Does New Discovery Mean
For Cancer-Pet Caretakers?

Possibilities Promising

BY John Clifton

   Here's a case where animals have a better chance for taking advantage of a new discovery than humans. 

Companion Animal Trials Sought

   While dichloroacetate (DCA) has been used for several years in the treatment of human metabolic disorders, it must be re-approved for use in treating human cancer. And before the required approvals, it must first go through a lengthy process of clinical trials using human subjects. Don't hold your breath -- there's little profit in an old, unpatentable drug and, hence, little financial support from the chief financier of clinical trials -- the pharmaceutical industry. It seems clear that approval for humans is a long way off.

   Animals, on the other hand, are less restricted in this regard. After all, the initial findings on DCA came from curing cancers in rats.

   It seems to me that veterinary oncologists could begin using the drug immediately on "terminal" animals. I am trying to spread the word about this among veterinary oncologists, and in fact have made some progress. I hope to succeed in convincing an important animal research organization to begin animal trials on DCA. So far I've made good progress, and hope to be able to make an important announcement in the near future.

   Meanwhile, I suggest that owners of cancer dogs and cats bring this matter up with their oncologists. The vets could be given access to the work done with rats at the University of Alberta, and proceed accordingly. It's striking to me how simply the drug was administered -- simply laced in drinking water.

   My guess is that DCA will be found to have minimal side effects in dogs and cats, though one can't be sure until the drug is actually tried.  But one can't help thinking: if rats did so well on this stuff, why would dogs and cats fare all that differently?.