Sunday, November 27, 2011

Inexpensive Diabetes Drug Metformin Shows Promise in Reducing Risk of Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer and Possibly Other Cancers.

Online Health Expert Medical News Flash: Previous epidemiological association of decreased Breast cancer in women on long term Metformin therapy for type 2 Diabetes Mellitus was experimentally shown to be true by researchers from Michigan State University and their colleagues from Seoul University.

Using culture dishes (Link 1), these researchers grew miniature human breast tumors, or mammospheres, that activated a certain stem cell gene (Oct4A). Then the mammospheres were exposed to natural estrogen - a known growth factor and potential breast tumor promoter - and man-made chemicals that are known to promote tumors or disrupt the endocrine system. 

They found that estrogen and the chemicals caused the mammospheres to increase in numbers and size. However, when metformin was added, the numbers and size of the mammospheres were dramatically reduced. While each of the chemicals enhanced growth by different means, metformin seemed to be able to inhibit their stimulated growth in all cases.

In another study done last year at the National Cancer Institute regarding metformin and Lung cancer prevention in mice (Link 2) when the researchers administered metformin to mice by injection, the drug levels were higher and the anticancer effects were even stronger—the drug reduced lung tumors by 72 percent compared with no treatment. Although this method of administration is not feasible for cancer prevention in humans, analogs of metformin that are more potent may well be more effective than the drug itself, Dr. Dennis noted. With any chemopreventive agent, however, minimal toxicity is critical, and metformin was well tolerated in the mice. In fact, the livers of the treated mice not only showed no signs of toxicity, but they actually appeared healthier than those of untreated mice.

Further research will be done to see if metformin can reduce the risk of Pancreatic and Liver cancers as well.

Further Reading and References:

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Dr. Harish Malik

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Dr. Harish Malik

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