Smothering Cancer STEM Cells with Metformin, a Common Anti-Diabetic Drug
Traditional cancer research has demonstrated that cancer cells create energy through glycolysis. Glycolysis is a process that creates energy without oxygen.
New findings show that certain cancer cells use an oxygen-based method of creating energy. These cancer cells use mitochondria to create energy.
Scientists believe they can now use metformin to kill cancer STEM cells. Metformin smothers these cells by preventing the mitochondria from using oxygen to create energy.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Some cancer cells, like pancreatic cancer cells, use glycolysis and oxygen to create energy. These types of cancers are often difficult to cure.
Using these findings, scientists forced pancreatic cancer cells to use only oxygen for energy. After that, they used metformin to suffocate the cancer cells - preventing cancer from returning.
Clinical trials further testing metformin will occur later this year. Researchers believe these findings will reduce relapses and provide better ways to treat cancer.