University of Montreal researchers discover how drug prevents aging and cancer progression

March 26, 2013

University of Montreal researchers have discovered a novel molecular mechanism that can potentially slows the aging process and may prevent the progression of some cancers. In the March 23 online edition of the prestigious journal Aging Cell, scientists from the University of Montreal explain how they found that the antidiabetic drug metformin reduces the production of inflammatory cytokines that normally activate the immune system, but if overproduced can lead to pathological inflammation, a condition that both damages tissues in aging and favors tumor growth.

"Cells normally secrete these inflammatory cytokines when they need to mount an immune response to infection, but chronic production of these same cytokines can also cause cells to age. Such chronic inflammation can be induced, for example by smoking" and old cells are particular proficient at making and releasing cytokines says Dr. Gerardo Ferbeyre, senior author and a University of Montreal biochemistry professor. He adds that, "We were surprised by our finding that metformin could prevent the production of inflammatory cytokines by old cells ".

In collaboration with Michael Pollack of the Segal Cancer Centre of the Jewish General Hospital, McGill University, Dr. Ferbeyre and his team discovered that metformin prevented the synthesis of cytokines directly at the level of the regulation of their genes. "The genes that code for cytokines are normal, but a protein that normally triggers their activation called NF-B can't reach them in the cell nucleus in metformin treated cells", Dr. Ferbeyre explained. "We also found that metformin does not exert its effects through a pathway commonly thought to mediate its antidiabetic effects", he added. "We have suspected that metformin acts in different ways on different pathways to cause effects on aging and cancer. Our studies now point to one mechanism", noted lead authors of the study Olga Moiseeva and Xavier Deschênes-Simard. Dr. Ferbeyre emphasized that, "this is an important finding with implications for our understanding on how the normal organism defends itself from the threat of cancer and how a very common and safe drug may aid in treatment of some cancers and perhaps slow down the aging process. He adds, "It remains that determining the specific targets of metformin would give us an even better opportunity of profit from its beneficial effects. That's what we want to figure out next".
-end-
Notes:

The University of Montreal is known officially as Université de Montréal. The research involved in the study "Metformin inhibits the senescence-associated secretory phenotype by interfering with IKK/NF-B activation" was financed by Prostate Cancer Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (MOP-82887).

To read the Aging Cell article onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acel.12075/

About the University of Montreal: http://www.umontreal.ca/english

About the Department of Biochemistry http://www.bcm.umontreal.ca

About Dr. Ferbeyre's research: http://www.mapageweb.umontreal.ca/ferbeyre/index-en.htm

University of Montreal

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.