16:28 17 July 2012
A diabetes drug that costs only 2p per tablet could lead to a breakthrough treatment for prostate cancer.
According to research, the cheap diabetes drug called metformin has the ability to cause tumours to shrink in size by slowing down their growth rate.
Findings are preliminary as of the moment, but if bigger trials confirm the results, this could mean that men who are suffering from prostate cancer can be given the cheap yet effective and readily available drug once they are diagnosed with the disease.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common causes of death among men in the UK. Statistics show that about 40,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with the disease every year and that 10,000 die from it. The fatality rate is equal to one in an hour.
The risk of developing prostate cancer tumours heighten as a man advances in age. The disease is also linked heavily to genetics.
Metformin, the drug that could possibly treat the disease, is more widely used as a medication for patients who are suffering from type 2 diabetes. However, recent studies have shown that the drug has a shrinking effect on a variety of tumours.
Aside from prostatecancer, metformin has also been shown to help reduce the risk of ovarian cancer among women by up to 40%.
Cancer Research UK is funding a five-year study to delve into the possible cancer-fighting effects of the drug.
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