DCA Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Tips for using DCA

DCA History

Sodium dichloroacetate, or NaDCA (abbreviated as DCA or dichloroacetate) is a simple molecule. It has neither odor nor color. It is non-toxic and cheap to produce.

A promising anti-cancer agent

Representatives from the University of Alberta (UA) claim that it is possible to use DCA as a treatment for various forms of cancer. One of the professors from the above mentioned University proved that DCA helps with regression of lung and breast cancers, as well as brain tumors (among others). The results of the study may be viewed in the research journal Cancer Cell published by the researchers from UA (including a cardiologist, Dr. Evangelos Michelakis, and Dr. Sebastien Bonnet).

It should be noted that DCA had been used before by men of science and medicine. It was successfully used in treatment of inborn defects connected with metabolism. These diseases were reported to have a connection with mitochondria. It should be noted that for nearly 80 years researchers have known that cancer has a negative influence on mitochondria, causing them to function abnormally. For most of this time, however, the most popular claim was that it was not possible for the mitochondria to function normally after they have been affected by cancer.

Dr. Michelakis attempted to undermine this thesis and stated that DCA may restore the destroyed mitochondria to their former state. He hoped that during the tests DCA could make the mitochondria produce an enzyme, which would help in their restoration. The results of the tests surpassed his expectations. Sodium Dichloroacetate (pureDCA) not only prevented the mitochondria from being devastated, but also decreased the tumor growth in test tubes and animal models. Unlike a great number of chemotherapies used nowadays, DCA did not affect healthy tissues.

According to Michelakis, this may happen because DCA targets a process, which may only be observed in cancer cells. He stressed the fact that Dichloroacetate may be used as a treatment for several forms of cancer.

Because DCA is a small molecule, it is easier for the body to absorb it. Therefore, it may be used to treat forms of cancer such as brain cancers, which are unreachable by commonly used drugs.

It is important to note that DCA has already been tested years ago on both healthy and sick patients. DCA was marked as relatively non-toxic and therefore action may be taken to test it on people with cancer.

It is a fact that dichloroacetate (DCA) cannot be patented, being a small molecule. If it is released as a drug, it would be cheaper than if it would be patented by a pharmaceutical company. However, for the same reason it is difficult for Dr. Michelakis to find sponsors for clinical trials for DCA. He is currently supported by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Canada Foundation of Innovation, the Canada Research Chairs program, the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and other private sources. The clinical trials on humans have already started, however it may not be possible for Dr. Michelakis to finish them yet, because additional funding is needed.

At the beginning of 2007, doctors from the University of Alberta (UA) led by Dr. Michelakis described their research in Cancer Cell, a scientific journal. They used a small molecule, dichloroacetate (DCA) on cancer cells in rats and discovered that due to restoration of damaged mitochondria, the tumors became smaller by 70% in three weeks.

It is important to note that DCA is not a drug. It is a molecule and as such cannot be formally prescribed by a doctor or patented as a drug.


In 1930 a German biochemist, Otto Warburg, discovered that tumor cells are the effect of metabolic disorder in healthy cells. According to him, a tumor should be interpreted as a disturbance in functioning of mitochondria. He claimed that cancer cells do not use oxygen to produce energy, but get it from decomposition of glucose. In 1931 he received a Nobel Prize for his findings in this field.

Warburg also pointed out that a connection exists between a low pH level in the cancer cell and the progress of the disease. It was connected to a means, by which the cancer cells gained energy – the fermentation of glucose. As an effect of this process, considerable accumulation of lactic acid and a strong concentration of carbon dioxide caused the pH of the environment of tumor cells to oscillate around 6.0. Warburg claimed that the higher level of pH meant a greater concentration of oxygen, while lower pH meant a smaller concentration. As the years passed, the findings of the German researcher were forgotten. For many decades that followed, scientists thought that mitochondria in tumor cells are irreversibly destroyed.

In 2006, a Canadian researcher, Dr. Evangelos Michelakis from the University of Alberta, came back to this theory. He asked a question -“ what would happen if the functioning of mitochondria could be restored?” To find an answer, he decided to use a substance known for over 20 years “ Sodium Dichloroacetate (DCA)“ a substance used to treat lactic acidosis by reactivating the mitochondria. In January 2007, a reputable periodical “Cancer Cell” published the results of the study conducted by the Canadian researchers led by Dr. Michelakis. The scientists transplanted the tumor cells (brain, breast and lung) to rats. For 3 weeks they have been giving them DCA diluted in water. After 3 weeks passed it turned out that the progress of the disease was stopped in both cases of in vivo and in vitro. Mitochondria were activated  and “ it suggested that they were not damaged as it was previously believed. They were inactive temporarily. As the mitochondria reactivated, the cells gained a new property” –  a possibility of apoptosis, which was blocked earlier. Because of this, the tumors shrank. After 3 weeks their mass decreased by 70%. Interestingly, the substance used only worked against the cancer cells, leaving the healthy cells intact. Dr. Dario Altieri, the director of the Cancer Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School notices that this research shows that we may gain control over the tumor, stop its progress, destroy it, or make it more vulnerable for other forms of therapy.

Despite such promising results, the private pharmaceutical concerns are not interested in conducting clinical trials. This results from the fact that DCA is a simple molecule and as such cannot be patented. Therefore, it cannot bring profit to a given company. Fortunately, in September of 2007, the Canadian research team managed to initiate clinical trials with human participants. This was only made possible due to funding from private sources. 50 volunteers with brain cancer (glioblastoma multiforme) participated in the trials.  In March 2008 an article was published in a reputable periodical “Nature”, indicating that DCA works on the same biochemical trials as pyruvate kinase, which is responsible for control over means of conversion of glucose oxygen or oxygen free. According to commentators, DCA seems to switch back the cellular biochemical trails to oxygen breathing.


Here you can download several medical papers which will be interesting for yourself, family, friends, and doctors.

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