Syndicate content

Diabetes Drug May Enhance Activity of Anti-Cancer Vaccines

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and McGill University have shown that the widely prescribed diabetes drug metformin can boost the body’s immunological memory and thus increase the potency of anti-cancer vaccines. "We serendipitously discovered that the metabolizing, or burning, of fatty acids by T-cells following the peak of infection is critical to establishing immunological memory," noted lead author Dr. Erika Pearce. "We used metformin, which is known to operate on fatty acid metabolism, to enhance this process, and have shown experimentally in mice that metformin increases T-cell memory, as well as the ensuing protective immunity of an experimental anti-cancer vaccine." "Our findings were unanticipated, but are potentially extremely important and could revolutionize current strategies for both therapeutic and protective vaccines," said senior author Dr. Yongwon Choi. Metformin may also boost the immune response to infection-fighting vaccines. The findings were published online on June 3 in Nature. [Press release] [Nature abstract]