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Cancer drug on black market

SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

April 07, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Terminally ill cancer patients are turning to black-market distributors for an unapproved cancer drug in efforts to extend their lives, according to a report Thursday in the journal Nature. The compound, which is known as dichloroacetate, or DCA, has caused cancers to shrink in rats without producing side effects. But DCA, which has been around for years, has a chemical structure that cannot be patented, and no pharmaceutical company has shown interest in it as an anti-cancer medication.

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