Taking a drug usually given out to treat diabetes could serve to increase the benefits of some cancer
vaccines, the findings of a new study suggest.
Research carried out by a team of scientists at the McGill's Goodman Cancer Centre alongside their peers at the University of Pennsylvania found that metformin could be used to boost the potency of some vaccines.
Specifically, the scientists found that, when used on mice, the drug helped T-cells, which serve to 'remember' old infections and thus help to create immunity to them, to work more effectively.
Dr Russell Jones of McGill's Goodman Cancer Centre explained in the journal Nature that many genes involved in regulating Type-1 diabetes can also play a role in the progression of cancer, with diabetics believed to be more at risk from certain cancers.
"Our study is the first to suggest that by targeting the same metabolic pathways that play a role in diabetes, you can alter how well your immune system functions," he said.
Type-1 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce any insulin and is currently estimated to affect between five and 15 per cent of all diabetes sufferers in the UK.