Ron: This comes from Robert K. Naviaux, MD, PhD, because he has done some exploring. If you look in the Wikipedia and do some searches on the web and look up side effects of Suramin and they are pretty scary. But Robert K. Naviaux, MD, PhD, knows that that is not really true. So there are two issues with this. One is that the amount of suramin that you use clinically for sleeping sickness is lower, the amount he uses is also lower. What is happening in the bulk of the literature is that the CDC (centers for disease control) did a big clinical trial of suramin for cancer. What I think, I am guessing on this, but I think what usually happens with cancer is that you try to use the highest dose (of the drug) that you can. I think anybody with cancer knows that the chemotherapy makes them sick. Well, partly, they are using as high a concentration as the patient will tolerate in the hopes that it will have a bigger effect. That’s what they did in the case of suramin I think is they used the highest dose that the patient could tolerate which basically has all sorts of side effects. And so those are the side effects that you see. That’s what’s reported now. That is what I thought was the answer. Then Robert K. Naviaux, MD, PhD, said actually no. There is something else going on, maybe. That is that when the CDC did that they did not get their suramin from Bayer, which is the main supplier of suramin for clinical use. I do not know why. It may have financial. It may have been that Bayer did not want to participate. They contracted out for the suramin to be made and Bob thinks it had a number of contaminants. He knows that from his mass spectrometry.
Ben: Yep! The tools of the trade.
Ron: The suramin from Bayer is very clean. The suramin probably that the CDC used is not. But, they made a large amount of it. He said that then is being sold off to suppliers for non-clinical use. So if you buy suramin on the market you are probably getting the old CDC suramin. It’s not necessarily newly synthesized. And so that suramin might have problems. We are concerned about that because we are trying to do tests in the lab. I want the clinical version, because if there are contaminants then we might see problems with those contaminants. That is what I have been struggling to get access to some clinical grade suramin.