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Dichloroacetate (DCA) is a synthetic drug which is has been shown to kill cancer cells by taking advantage of cancer’s particular metabolic process and uses it against it.
Like normal cells, tumor cells need to convert sugar to energy to survive. One method, Glucose oxidation is compromised by the tumor, and the cell then relies on Glycolysis, which allows the cancer to grow without oxygen. This results in abnormal production of the enzyme pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK), which suppresses pyruvate, a necessary organic acid in glucose oxidation. DCA suppresses PDK, activating the cells mitochondria which activates the cell’s “kill switch”, causing the tumor cell to die.
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