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Medical 3-bromopyruvate a miracle compound for certain cancer stuck in limbo

  1. Nov 11, 2011 #1
    because the molecule is extremely cheap and can't be patented?

    This is from Johns Hopkins University too, not some quack on the internet:



    If you can get to a university library you can see the photos of the remarkable recovery rats that were injected with cancer cells made after treatment with 3-bromopyruvate in the journal article. 19/19 rats studied were all cured and were still living after 1 year. Clinical trials in Europe are now on going and are seeing positive results. There was also rumor that a chemist in Europe somewhere got cancer, had heard of this paper, and made some crude 3-bromopyruvate in the lab out of desperation. They ended up surviving. 3-bromopyruvate has been known to have extremely interesting anti-cancer properties since 2003, so why haven't we brought it to clinical trials here in the US yet? Absolutely no pharmaceutical companies will touch it and put it into clinical trials because almost no money can be made on the molecule since it can't be patented. What should we do?

    Maybe this is a case where more government is good and it could step in to make this compound on an industrial scale for medical use.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2011 #2
    I'd not count government to do anything - it has none of the personel or organizational capabilities, systems and certainly not the disciplne and focus to satisfy its own NDA process. One need merely look at the screwed up multi-governmental efforts for HIV vaccine to see this.

    If every report of preclinical efficacy were to bear fruit as an effective marketed drug - there would be no cancer in our human world. This compund may indeed have that potential - and Merck et al. may have other compounds in their pipeline just as effective. You also fail to consider that such materials are not without effect. Citing a recent article that saw little difference between three such glycolytic inhibitors (Sanchez-Arago and Cueza, 2011),
    "The use of glycolytic inhibitors as chemotherapeutic agents has pros and contras. One problem is the deleterious effects that these agents could trigger in cell types strictly dependent on aerobic glycolysis for energy (e.g. neurons, lymphocytes, erythrocytes, retina, renal medulla, etc). However, glycolytic enzymes do have highly specific active site residues that, in principle, could provide more specific drug targets than those of proteins involved in signal transduction pathways."
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
  4. Nov 11, 2011 #3

    Maybe Merck et al. do have something similar in efficacy as this, but what's the point? 3-BP can be bought for a dirt cheap from Sigma Aldrich. Why waste millions on research and development if a cheap reagent off the shelf could potentially have similar results? Again, the whole story behind 3-BP is that it is very specific for cancer metabolism and that cancer cells seem to metabolize as though they are under anaerobic conditions. Theoretically, 3-BP should only be uptaken by cancer cells and not cells using aerobic glycolysis. 3-BP should have probably been brought to at least phase I trials already.

    Also it could depend on route of administration. If you injected 3-BP directly into a tumor you may be able to avoid a lot of potential toxicity such as the ones mentioned in the reference you provided.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
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