Diabetes drug metformin can help treat cancer, study confirms

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Metformin is widely recognized as a key treatment for type 2 diabetes; however, recent studies are unveiling its potential to offer additional health benefits, particularly in cancer prevention.

At the University of Helsinki, researchers have made intriguing findings about metformin’s role in boosting the body’s cancer-fighting abilities.

Published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, the study led by Rita Turpin and Juha Klefström explored how metformin can activate immune cells, enhancing their ability to detect and destroy cancer cells.

This research particularly focused on dendritic cells, a type of immune cell that plays a critical role in helping the immune system recognize cancer cells as threats.

The team observed that metformin affects the metabolism of dendritic cells, making them more active. This increased activity strengthens the immune response against cancer cells, suggesting that metformin could be a significant addition to cancer treatment strategies.

The research used human breast cancer tissue samples, which included live cancer cells and immune cells that had infiltrated the cancerous tissue.

These samples were part of patient-derived explant cultures, which simulate a near-natural environment allowing researchers to study the direct effects of drugs on cancer and surrounding immune cells.

Juha Klefström emphasized the value of these cultures in understanding how cancer treatments affect immune cells within tumors. This method is pivotal in identifying drugs that not only effectively combat cancer cells but also enhance the functioning of immune cells.

It is particularly beneficial in assessing treatments like metformin that are not only safe and tolerable but also activate immune cells to fight cancer.

The study heavily depended on the generosity of breast cancer patients who donated tumor samples, which are crucial for advancing cancer research.

Thanks to these contributions, researchers can further explore how existing medications like metformin might be repurposed to improve cancer therapies, potentially leading to innovative strategies that leverage the body’s immune system to fight cancer.

This research not only broadens our understanding of metformin’s potential beyond managing diabetes but also opens the door to new anticancer therapies that might combine metformin with other treatments that activate the immune system.

The findings from this study underscore the evolving landscape of cancer treatment, where drugs traditionally used for other ailments like diabetes could play an essential role in cancer prevention and therapy.

This approach could lead to more effective and personalized cancer treatment options in the future, significantly improving patient outcomes.

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.

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