Tags: diabetes | type 2 | metformin | dementia | cancer | heart disease | anti-aging

Common Diabetes Drug May Slow Aging

close-up of fingers holding metformin pill
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Tuesday, 23 April 2024 05:00 PM EDT

Research suggests that a medication commonly used to control Type 2 diabetes may help protect against age-related chronic diseases and promote longevity. A series of nationwide test trials will be launched to evaluate whether men and women taking metformin, a popular, low-cost diabetes drug, experience a delay in development or progression of age-related diseases such as cancer, dementia, and heart disease.

The Targeting Aging with Metformin (TAME) Trial will be conducted at 14 leading research institutions across the U.S. and will involve more than 3,000 participants between the ages of 65 and 79, according to the American Federation for Aging Research.

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Metformin is an FDA-approved drug that has been used in the treatment of diabetes for more than 60 years. Animal studies have already shown that the drug delays aging, and the scientists hope to find that it also influences fundamental aging factors in humans. The TAME Trial is targeting metformin for its research because the drug has already been proven to be safe and inexpensive. Researchers are hoping that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will consider aging as a treatable indication, like diabetes and heart disease. They are proposing a broad category of aging that would include chronic conditions associated with aging that could be treated with metformin if the trial is successful.

According to NPR, metformin costs less than a dollar a day and may incur no out-of-pocket expenses for those with insurance. Steven N. Austad Ph.D., senior scientific director of the American Federation for Aging Research, says, “I don’t know if metformin increases lifespan in people, but the evidence that exists suggests it very well might.”

Studies have shown that the drug reduces the risk of certain types of cancer, including gastrointestinal, urologic and blood cancers. Austad said that a British study found a lower risk of dementia and cognitive decline among people who took metformin for Type 2 diabetes. There is also evidence that the drug improves cardiovascular outcomes, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular death, says NPR.

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The TAME Trial that is being coordinated by researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine hopes to find answers as to why these benefits occur and if they are restricted to people with diabetes. The goal is to uncover how the mechanisms work in the body and if metformin can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which slows biological aging.

For now, the FDA has approved metformin only to treat Type 2 diabetes, but doctors can prescribe it off-label for other conditions, says Harvard Health. Some examples include prediabetes, gestational diabetes, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It can also be used to lessen weight gain in people who take antipsychotic medication.

The study is estimated to cost between $45 and $70 million, and researchers are having a difficult time raising funds. Because metformin is a generic drug, no pharmaceutical company stands to make any money if the results prove successful. The metformin trial will get underway once the money comes in, says Dr. Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute of Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who is leading the effort to get the trial started.

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Health-News
Research suggests that a medication commonly used to control Type 2 diabetes may help protect against age-related chronic diseases and promote longevity. A series of nationwide test trials will be launched to evaluate whether men and women taking metformin, a popular,...
diabetes, type 2, metformin, dementia, cancer, heart disease, anti-aging, longevity
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2024-00-23
Tuesday, 23 April 2024 05:00 PM
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