Monday January 20, 2020

Common Diabetes Drug May Offer Treatment For Breast Cancer, Says Study

However, neither of the drugs were originally designed to treat cancer

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay
Repurposing a common diabetes drug as well as another used for treating a group of inherited and acquired disorders may also help in the fight against resistant breast cancers that currently have no targeted therapy, finds a study.
The study, led by the University of Chicago, showed that the two existing drugs named metformin and haemin suppress tumour growth in mice, Xinhua reported.
“This is the first joint use of these two drugs. We think we have elucidated a new mechanism, something basic and fundamental, and found ways to use it,” said Marsha Rosner, Professor at the varsity.
The researchers found that the primary anti-cancer target for haemin is a transcription factor known as BACH1 (BTB and CNC homology1). This protein is often highly expressed in triple negative breast cancers and is required for metastasis.
BACH1 targets mitochondrial metabolism and can suppress a key source of cellular energy. When BACH1 is high, this energy source is shut down, the report said.
However, when cancer cells were treated with haemin, BACH1 was reduced, causing BACH1-depleted cancer cells to change metabolic pathways. This caused cancers that are vulnerable to metformin to suppress mitochondrial respiration.
Diabetes
Representational image. Pixabay
“We found that this novel combination, haemin plus metformin, can suppress tumour growth, and we validated this in mouse tumour models,” explained Jiyoung Lee from the varsity.
The findings can extend beyond breast cancer.
BACH1 expression is enriched not only in triple negative breast cancers, but is also seen in many other cancers including lung, kidney, uterus, prostate and acute myeloid leukemia, the researchers noted.
However, neither of the drugs were originally designed to treat cancer.
Metformin, discovered in 1922 and used clinically since 1957, was developed to treat Type-2 diabetes. It decreases glucose production by the liver and increases insulin sensitivity.
Haemin, marketed as panhematin, was first crystallised from blood in 1853. It is now used to treat defects of haemin synthesis. These defects can cause porphyrias, a group of inherited and acquired disorders. (IANS)

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70 Lakh Women Screened for Breast Cancer Under Ayushman Bharat: Smriti Irani

Irani also said that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Democratic Alliance-government was the first in the country, which not only set targets but also achieve it before the deadline

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Smriti Irani
Smriti Irani. Facebook

Under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, more than 70 lakh women have undergone screening for breast cancer, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani said on Saturday.

Irani was in Goa to launch a new health kit, launched by the Goa government’s Women and Child Ministry, which will help diagnose breast cancer and other medical ailments in association with Anganwadi workers.

“70 lakh women have screened for breast cancer through Ayushman Bharat scheme,” Irani said, adding that 30 lakh women across India have been screened for cervical cancer under the national universal health care scheme.

Breast cancer pink ribbon
Breast cancer survival rates are rising as screening and treatment improve. Pixabay

Irani also said that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Democratic Alliance-government was the first in the country, which not only set targets but also achieve it before the deadline.

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“No one had thought that there would be a government at the Centre which will not just announce schemes, but will also achieve targets ahead of the deadline of 2020. Take the Ujjwala Yojana for example for which the target was providing free gas cylinders for five crore women. I am happy that today when we see Ujwala Yojana numbers, in just three years eight crore poor women have got clean fuel,” Irani also said. (IANS)