The discovery of aspirin in 1897 and penicillin in 1928 has had a tremendous impact on medicine. Aspirin and penicillin were and still are the "miracle makers" in medicine. Would metformin, the famous anti-diabetic medication, be the next miracle maker and join the aspirin-penicillin club to save millions of lives by acting as an anti-cancer?
Lurking everywhere, cancer continues exponentially to expand and so does the medical research to tame it! Clinicians and research scientists are working around the clock to find a way to gain control of the bizarre proliferation of cancer cells. Recent research has centered on the metabolism of cancer cells, and modulators of metabolism are being tested clinically.
Interfering with the metabolism of cancer cells causes "turmoil in tumors", succumbing them to death. One of the metabolism modulators that is under heavy research is the famous anti-diabetic medication metformin. It is being evaluated alone and in combination with other anti-cancer drugs. So far, the results are promising!
Preliminary studies show that metformin disrupts and inhibits the enzyme mTOR (mammalian Target of Rapamycin)―an enzyme/protein that acts and operates as a master regulator in cell proliferation, growth, differentiation, and mortality.
Interestingly, studies also indicate that the famous antioxidant curcumin and the anti-catabolic sports supplement AKG (alpha-ketoglutarate) exert their anti-cancer activities by inhibiting the mTOR.
In the upcoming years, we will see if metformin could be a miracle maker next to aspirin and penicillin. Let`s hope that it could!
Abazar Habibinia, MD, DFN, CSDTT
Executive Director of The Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition
Published on February 12, 2019