Study confirms diabetes drug metformin’s potential in cancer therapy

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Metformin is well-known as a medication for managing type 2 diabetes, but recent studies suggest it might have additional benefits, particularly in fighting cancer.

Researchers at the University of Helsinki have made a promising discovery about how metformin could bolster the body’s ability to battle cancer.

Their findings, published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, reveal that metformin activates immune cells, enhancing their capability to recognize and attack cancer cells.

The study, led by Rita Turpin and Juha Klefström, focused on the role of dendritic cells, a type of immune cell known for its effectiveness in helping the immune system identify cancer cells as threats.

The research team observed that metformin influences the metabolism of dendritic cells, making them more active. This heightened activity boosts the immune response against cancer cells, suggesting that metformin could be a valuable tool in cancer treatment.

This investigation utilized human breast cancer tissue samples, which included living cancer cells and immune cells that had infiltrated the cancer tissue. These samples are part of what’s known as patient-derived explant cultures.

This method allows researchers to observe the direct effects of drugs on cancer cells and the surrounding immune cells in a close-to-natural environment.

Klefström highlighted the importance of these cultures, stating they are crucial for understanding how cancer drugs affect immune cells residing within tumors.

This approach can help identify drugs that are effective against cancer cells while preserving the function of immune cells. It can also pinpoint treatments like metformin that not only are safe and tolerable but also activate immune cells to fight against cancer.

The success of this research relies heavily on the willingness of breast cancer patients to donate tumor samples. The contributions of these patients are invaluable, enabling significant advancements in cancer research.

Thanks to their participation, researchers can continue to explore how existing drugs like metformin could be repurposed to enhance cancer therapy, potentially leading to new strategies that utilize the body’s own immune system to combat cancer.

This study not only expands our understanding of metformin’s capabilities beyond diabetes treatment but also opens the door to developing new anticancer therapies that combine metformin with other immune-activating treatments.

If you care about cancer, please read studies about a new method to treat cancer effectively, and this low-dose, four-drug combo may block cancer spread.

For more information about cancer prevention, please see recent studies about nutrient in fish that can be a poison for cancer, and results showing this daily vitamin is critical to cancer prevention.

The research findings can be found in Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer.

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