Can a cancer drug help treat Diabetes?

It turns out that there are signs that a current treatment for Colon Cancer may actually help people who have diabetes.

Cancer therapy – and many therapies really – can produce surprising combinations this way sometimes. We may discover, for example, that one medication which is good for one thing is actually good for something else. For example, the medication Thalidomide was discovered to cause horrible birth defects when given in England years ago for “morning sickness” but we now have discovered that this same medication is now helpful for Multiple Myeloma.

The same with a medication called Aflibercept (also known as Eylea or Zaltrap). This medication is a VEGF inhibitor which is useful in the treatment of Colon Cancer. VEGF stands for Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor. VEFG is a protein which colon cancer produces in order to make itself more blood vessels in order to feed itself better as it grows. By doing this, the tumor, as it grows, does not outgrow its blood supply. Well, Aflibercept blocks VEGF and thus makes the tumor outgrow its blood supply and starve/suffocate to death because of lack of  blood supply and oxygen.

Researchers at Stanford have recently discovered that VEGF inhibitors block (as they are supposed to do) the development of new blood vessels. This then leads to decreased oxygen delivery to the cells. Decreased oxygen delivery is known as hypoxia. Hypoxia, then makes the cells to produce a substance known as HIF-2Alpha which in turn produces another protein called IRS2 which thus makes it easier for cells to absorb and work with the glucose that surrounds them. What this means is that, if this research continues to bear fruit, we may discover that it may be possible to give Aflibercept to patients with diabetes as a way to help the cells of diabetic patients to more easily absorb the glucose that surrounds them and thus, have less of the glucose swimming around their bodies (which is the problem with diabetics).

As more of this information comes forward, I will keep you informed. Mark Sperry for Cancer In Plain English

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