How an existing diabetes drug controls pancreatic cancer

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How an existing diabetes drug controls pancreatic cancer

The diabetes medication metformin might help fight pancreatic cancer.

New research suggests that targeting a particular cell signaling pathway with the diabetes drug metformin might offer a way to stop the progression and spread of pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer kills more than 44,000 people in the U.S. every year.

The study — which was led by Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick — is to feature at the 2018 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, which will be held in Chicago, IL.

This study is not the first to suggest metformin as a potential treatment for pancreatic cancer, but it is the first to show that the underlying mechanism involves the drug’s effect on the REarranged during Transfection (RET) cell signaling pathway.

“Our data,” says senior investigator XiangLin Tan, who is an assistant professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, “indicate that targeting RET with metformin may be an attractive and novel strategy for the prevention and treatment of pancreatic cancer progression and metastasis.”

Pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer is a cancer that starts in the cells of the pancreas, which is an organ behind the stomach that helps with digestion and blood sugar control.

The estimates for the United States suggest that around 55,440 people will find out that they have pancreatic cancer in 2018, and approximately 44,330 people will die of the disease.

Though it is only responsible for 3 percent of all cancers in the U.S., pancreatic cancer accounts for around 7 percent of deaths from cancer.

Read on: How an existing diabetes drug controls pancreatic cancer

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