Diabetes drug may fight cancer
Metformin sold as Glucophage, Riomet
A drug called metformin that is widely used to treat type 2 diabetes may help the immune system and make vaccines and cancer drugs more potent, according to a new study.
Researchers from McGill University and the University of Pennsylvania said the drug increases the efficiency of the immune system's T-cells.
T-cells "remember" invaders they have fought before, helping to quickly fight infections.
Metformin is sold as Glucophage, Riomet and Fortamet, among other names.
"Many genes involved in diabetes regulation also play a role in cancer progression," Dr. Russell Jones said in a news release. "There is also a significant body of data suggesting that diabetics are more prone to certain cancers."
His work in mice showed that metformin helps the T cells "learn." It also boosted the effectiveness of an anti-cancer vaccine, he said.
Researchers say that new work is showing that diabetes and cancer may share links because there could be similarities between how chemical processes in cells lead to the diseases.
The findings will be published June 3 in the journal Nature.
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