by Janet Babin
Pharmaceutical companies routinely spend more than $1 billion to bring a new drug to market. Drug patents help them recoup their investment — giving them a temporary monopoly.
But DCA is a cheap generic that’s been around for more than 30 years. The patent’s long gone. Companies have no economic incentive to study its potential to fight cancer.
So Dr. Evangelos Michelakis, a professor at the University of Alberta, set up a website to fund the research through public donations.
“We had people that sent a $10-dollar check and we had people that sent a $3,000 check — from Siberia, New Zealand, Africa, South America, the States,” says Dr. Michelakis.
Dr. Michelakis says donations paid for 90 percent of the study, which cost about $1 million. He’s asking the public to fund a second, larger clinical trial.