Medications originally designed for use in diabetes and high blood pressure might also have a role in cancer.
A combination of a diabetes medication and an antihypertensive drug can effectively combat cancer cells. The team of researchers led by Prof. Michael Hall at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has also reported that specific cancer cells respond to this combination of drugs. The results of the study have now been published in Science Advances.
Metformin is the most widely prescribed drug for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Besides its blood sugar lowering effect, it also displays anti-cancer properties. The usual therapeutic dose, however, is too low to effectively fight cancer. The research team led by Prof. Michael Hall, at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, has now made an unexpected discovery: The antihypertensive drug syrosingopine potentiates the anti-cancer efficacy of metformin. Apparently, this drug combination drives cancer cells to programmed “suicide.”
Drug cocktail kills tumor cells
At higher doses, the antidiabetic drug inhibits the growth of cancer cells but could also induce unwanted side effects. Therefore, the researchers screened over a thousand drugs for whether they can enhance the anticancer action of metformin. A favorite emerged from this screening: Syrosingopine, an antihypertensive drug. As the study shows, the cocktail of these two drugs is effective in a wide range of cancers.
“For example, in samples from leukemia patients, we demonstrated that almost all tumor cells were killed by this cocktail and at doses that are actually not toxic to normal cells,” says the first author, Don Benjamin. “And the effect was exclusively confined to cancer cells, as the blood cells from healthy donors were insensitive to the treatment.”
Read full article: Treating cancer with drugs for diabetes and hypertension — ScienceDaily
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