A group of experts at the University of Basel
discovered that just by combining particular medications for diabetes and blood pressure, cancer cells may die. They added, specific tumors react to this combination of drugs.
Researchers refer to drugs metformin and syrosingopine. Metformin is used to treat type 2 diabetics. Aside from lowering sugar levels in the blood, experts say it also has anti-cancer properties. However, the dosage used for treating diabetes is too low to produce antitumor effects.
However, syrosingopine, an antihypertensive medication can increase the effect of metformin against cancer. Meaning, combination of these drugs may lead to cancer cell suicide.
Experts say, though metformin has anti-cancer properties, high doses of the drug may produce undesirable effects to health. Thus, they chose a drug that could strengthen its anti-tumor properties. That's where syrosingopin comes in.
"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," Don Benjamin, first author of the study, said in a press release
. "And the effect was exclusively confined to cancer cells, as the blood cells from healthy donors were insensitive to the treatment."
Metformin fights cancer cells by blocking the respiratory chain in the energy factories of the cell, the mitochondria. While syrosingopine inhibits the degradation of sugars.
These processes is crucial for cell's survival. Thus, once ceased, cancer cells may eventually die and be prevented from multiplying.
The combination of these two drugs may lead to cheaper cancer treatment. Amen to that!