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Diabetes Drug Effective Against Ovarian Cancer

Neil Donaghy | December 11th, 2012

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A popular type 2 diabetes drug may work as a future treatment for cancer, according to a recent study. The study found that diabetes patients taking the drug metformin were less likely to succumb to ovarian cancer.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota looked at 239 ovarian cancer patients, 61 of whom were also taking metformin for diabetes. Patients on metformin had a 67% survival rate over five years, compared with 47% for the group not taking the drug. When other factors – including patients’ BMIs and the severity of their cancer – were taken into consideration, those on metformin were found to be four times more likely to survive than those who were not.

The research team has spent years proving the efficacy of metformin in inhibiting cancerous cells in mice; it is thought to act directly on cancer stem cells, and may have potential as a supplementary treatment, according to oncologists. The drug has a safety profile containing decades worth of data, stretching back to its initial development in the 1920s.

Reversing diabetes through diet, Metformin

Part of the bigaunide class of anti-diabetic drugs, metformin, which lowers blood sugar levels, has been around since the twenties. Despite promising early tests, it was initially superseded as a diabetes treatment by insulin. Approved in Canada in 1972, and the USA in 1994, it is now the most widely prescribed anti-diabetic drug in the world, and has a number of advantages over other diabetes medications.

Metformin is associated with less weight gain and fewer hypoclycaemic attacks than other bigaunides or insulin, making it the favored medication for patients with – or at risk of developing – type 2 diabetes. Metformin is usually used in conjunction with a strict diabetic diet.

Diabetic diet remains best method to manage disease, say doctors

For those suffering with type 2 diabetes, metformin is most effective when combined with a healthy diabetic diet. The Center for Medical Weight Loss, the largest network of non-surgical weight loss specialists in the country, customizes safe, effective diet plans for diabetics. Physicians at the Center specialize in reversing diabetes through diet.

“We see diabetic patients all the time who lose weight and no longer need insulin,” explains Dr. Michael Kaplan, founder of The Center For Medical Weight Loss. “When patients lose 5% – 10% of their body weight, it is a given that they will reduce their blood sugar significantly; many no longer need medication.”

Visit for further information on tailored diet plans for diabetics, and to read stories of weight loss success. Special introductory offers are available for first-time visitors at select locations.