Drug companies have been struggling to bring new cancer drugs to the market. They spend billions of dollars each year researching new treatments. However, most of them never receive FDA approval. Fortunately, some drugs already on the market may be able to help cure cancer. One drug may be Metformin.
Metformin is a diabetes drug that was approved by the FDA nearly 20 years ago. Researchers have noted that patients taking the medication have had a lower incidence of cancer than those who were not.
Initially, this phenomenon was attributed to the fact that most people taking the medication had reduced insulin levels. Previous research had found that higher insulin levels were correlated with Â the risk of developing cancer. Health professionals have tried reducing the risk of diabetic patients developing cancer by keeping their insulin levels in check.
Metformin for Cancer Treatment?
In 2006, Canadian medical scientists discovered Metformin might play another role in the treatment of cancer. These researchers discovered that the drug may also increase the production of a key enzyme known to inhibit tumor production. Over the last few years, they have looked into the phenomenon further, assessing whether Metformin may actually be an effective medication for treating certain forms of cancer.
[box type=”note”]Dr. Pamela Goodwin is a leading breast cancer researcher at the University of Toronto. Goodwin said that the first study inspired her colleagues to research this theory in much more depth. Over the past six years, other researchers have conducted many studies on cell cultures, animals and even a few studies on humans.[/box]
Earlier this month, the American Association for Cancer Research Â held its annual meeting in Chicago. Researchers presented the findings of 20 different studies citing evidence that Metformin may be an effective means of treating cancer.
[box type=”important”]Oncologists throughout North America are looking more closely at these studies to assess what role Metformin will play in cancer treatment. Dr. Anthony Joshua, a medical oncologist in Toronto, said that it is clear Metformin may be a powerful drug used in the treatment of a number of different types of cancer.[/box]
Safety of Metformin?
Researchers will consider it a major victory if they are able to prove that Metformin plays a key role in the treatment of cancer. The drug has already been on the market long enough that they are confident it is relatively safe. Therefore, they won’t need to jump through the same kind of hoops trying to get FDA funding they would for a new drug.