Metformin Prevents DNA Damage, Say Researchers

McGill-UniversityA recent study by a team of researchers at the McGill University and the University of Montreal has found that use of a drug for diabetes can protect cells from DNA damage, which further are known to cause cancer.

The report has revealed that the safe and inexpensive drug, Metformin, which is for diabetes patients, cuts cancer rate in the ones who prefer the medication by 40% in comparison to those who are not taking the drug. Researchers conducted an analysis along with Dr. Gerardo Ferbeyre at Universite de Montréal’s Department of Biochemistry and concluded that the drug metformin reduces DNA damage by decreasing reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels.

The researchers revealed, after their study, metformin soaks damaging reactive oxygen exhaust that is created by cells producing energy. They said that the drug which is known for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes can also help in thwarting colon cancer.

“The drug seems to selectively prevent ROS production from altered mitochondria such as those found in cells with oncogenic mutations”, said author Gerardo Ferbeyre, of U de M's department of biochemistry.

ROS are the DNA-damaging agents that are produced when cells generate energy from nutrients, which takes place in mitochondria. Mitochondria are a site of action for the metformin drug that reduces glucose level, as per the previous findings. However, the drug also served to decrease ROS production, reducing the DNA damage, which was not found then.

It was then further told by the team that the reason why the drug reduces the risk of cancer in patients taking it is that metformin lowers down glucose level in the blood and cancer cells have an avid appetite for glucose, the lack of which makes them unable to grow.