On Monday April 20, Kevin Struhl, David Wesley Gaiser Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School, gave a Nieuwland Lecture Series presentation titled, "An epigenetic switch linking inflammation to cancer and the use of metformin as an anti-cancer drug."
Struhl detailed how epigenetic work in cancer cell research began ten years ago. In this work, links have been found between the transcriptional signatures in cancer with those of other diseases, leading researchers to believe that drugs already developed for other diseases may be effective in treating cancer.
When tested, many of the drugs used to treat other diseases did, in fact, have anti-cancer effects and worked well in stopping the transformation of cancer cells. The most effective drug was commonly used in treating diabetes.
Other important aspects of this ongoing research include understanding which drugs will be effective on different types of cancer tissue and patient sensitivity to different drugs.