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Lots of interest in funding new cancer drug trials


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January 20, 2007

Lots of interest in funding new cancer drug trials

The University of Alberta has been inundated with offers to raise money for human trials of a drug with anti-cancer properties, as recently discovered by a team of researchers led by local cardiologist Dr. Evangelos Michelakis.

A website (www.depmed.ualberta.ca/dca) is now online to keep people apprised of research progress, and instruct them on how to properly make a research donation to help speed up the process of human testing.

The drug, known as DCA, shrinks lung, brain and breast cancer tumours in rats. It's long been used safely in humans to treat rare metabolic disorders, and researchers hope to test it against cancer in human patients in the coming years.

But the drug cannot be patented, meaning profit margins - should it make it to market - would be minimal.

Michelakis fears pharmaceutical companies will be reluctant to fund the human trials required to get the drug approved by government, which can cost upwards of $600 million.

Researchers will likely apply for further government funding, but hope their research will encourage charities and private sector investors to check out the website and donate.

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