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Medicine Science

Common Diabetic Drug Fights Cancer Stem Cells 149

Posted by kdawson
from the getting-at-the-root-or-at-least-the-stem dept.
SubtleGuest writes "In the latest issue of Cancer Research, a breakthrough study shows that Metformin, a cheap and common diabetic medicine, kills cancer stem cells — the cells postulated to be responsible for tumor resistance and recurrence after chemotherapy (research abstract here). It has been known that diabetics taking Metformin experience lower cancer rates, and now it is apparent why that may be and how it may apply to non-diabetics as well. When combined with Doxorubicin to kill non-stem cancer cells, the results are nothing short of astonishing: total remission in a mouse xenograft model. The results are achieved at levels below the dosage needed for diabetic control, opening many new avenues in cancer treatment and prevention."
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Common Diabetic Drug Fights Cancer Stem Cells

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  • Re:I feel jealous (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geegel (1587009) on Friday October 02, 2009 @10:29AM (#29616569)
    Well... you'd get the bad ones too.
  • Fine... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Friday October 02, 2009 @10:33AM (#29616615)
    You also get to be whacked on the head and then cut up in the interests of research. This doesn't happen if you're human, Chinese criminals excepted.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 02, 2009 @10:54AM (#29616831)
    Not really. Cancer is one of the more costly ways to die, involving months of very expensive treatments that may or may not work. Its much better for your health insurance company if they can cure the cancer on the cheap and have you die of something less expensive later, like a heart attack or a a car crash.
  • by zerosomething (1353609) on Friday October 02, 2009 @10:58AM (#29616875) Homepage
    Actually insurance companies make money when we live longer and die of natural causes. We pay our premiums for a longer period.
  • by BlueBoxSW.com (745855) on Friday October 02, 2009 @10:58AM (#29616877) Homepage

    This is AWESOME for insurance companies.

    Charge the same rates and provide cheaper cures?

    I'm pretty sure the math works out in their favor.

  • Re:I'm diabetic... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JerryLove (1158461) on Friday October 02, 2009 @11:06AM (#29616989)

    I had cancer and they gave me chemo (then a high-doseage chemo (bone-marrow transplant)). That wasn't a pleasent feelign either.

    Still, I doubt Metformin would have had the permenant effects that did.

  • by moon3 (1530265) on Friday October 02, 2009 @11:28AM (#29617313)
    This drug regimen is $4/months cheap -- this might threaten the whole cancer industry. I bet results of this trial will disappear quickly or some 'sponsored' research will soon came with a counter claim.
  • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Friday October 02, 2009 @12:20PM (#29618017)

    Yeah, just like those magic cars everyone just knows "they" have but that the big mean oil companies managed to stop. And all those wonderful herbal remedies to cancer that those "fat cats" don't want us to use and that cure cancer in a mere few weeks.

    Paranoia for the win!

  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday October 02, 2009 @12:53PM (#29618473)

    In addition to these results being only in vitro, here comes a sad reminder of the state of this ehm 'research', it looks like they know little about the mechanisms of cancer, this is the cave man trial and error approach still, lots of animals have to die horrible death for them to dig something up, but fingers crossed they finally drawn the winning ticket in this cancer beating lottery.

    Considering that the discovery that tumors have stem cells is extremely new and not 100% certain anyway, I'd say it isn't "sad," it's "lucky."

    And don't put that just on stem cell research, most drugs out there are discovered through trial and error rather than "Oh hey, you know what would be great for treating this disease? This small molecule."

  • by EndlessNameless (673105) on Friday October 02, 2009 @02:22PM (#29619633)

    "I deleted a file two years ago and defragmented my hard drive. You should be able to get it back for me, right?"
     
    Don't comment on how simple something should be if you have no understanding of the problem.

      But isn't prudent to get the cancer cells into some ecosystem or bioreactor, apply various factors and study them there instead of this Nazi like trial and error research involving those animals ?
     
    If this were feasible, we would have started experimenting on human cancers directly as soon as the first petri dishes rolled out.

      They claim to be able to sequence much smaller DNA so why not 'sequence' or look into the cancer here.
     
    Sequencing DNA is many, many steps away from having adequate detail regarding the biochemical differences that will manifest in the organism (or cell). We can't even coimpletely simulate a bog-standard conception-to-birth timeline for typical humans, with various genes switching on and off at different locations and times during development. There are tremendous advances taking place in genetics and will be for some time---but we are nowhere near this level of sophistication at present.

      Also inside organisms they are able to highlight and target cancer with some agent and see exactly where the cancer cells are using that PET scanner technique, but unable to use the same path to deliver treatment to those areas.
     
    The 'P' in PET scanner stands for positron. If the treatment could home in on positron concetrations then you're golden. I'll tell you what: you get the positron-homing molecules ready and I'll find a way to superglue the medicinal molecules to them. Deal?

      It seams to me that this cancer 'industry' is trying to do prolonged and expensive healing, but not to cure.
     
    It only seems that way because you are utterly ignorant of the underlying reality.

  • by Fished (574624) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [yrogihpma]> on Friday October 02, 2009 @08:17PM (#29622743)
    Well, I'm no biomedical researcher, but my understanding is that diet studies are notoriously hard to do. It's generally not possible to do a double blind diet study on humans (although some interesting, but not truly "double blind", studies have been done on rats and mice by infusing food directly into their stomachs.) Humans aren't going to put up with what would be required. So, the best bet is probably longitudinal studies. What's interesting is that, at least from what I've read, most of the longitudinal studies that were supposed to confirm the lipid hypothesis (i.e. "fat is evil")--such as the Framingham Heart Study, MRFIT, etc.--have failed to do so in any substantial way. Unfortunately, this failure to support the lipid hypothesis seems to be regarded as the study being a failure! Hardly scientific. What IS clear to me, based on a truly excessive amount of reading but no professional qualifications, is that the proposal that dietary fat is the root of all dietary evils is probably not correct. If nothing else, the link between excessive consumption of carbohydrate and insulin resistance seems clear, and the effectiveness of carb restriction in treatment of type 2 diabetes has been conclusively established over the past few years.

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