Metformin, a drug commonly used to treat diabetes, inhibits the activity of the energy-generating mitochondria within cells. It was observed that patients taking metformin for diabetes had less aggressive cancers than those not taking metformin. However, metformin’s impact on immune cells and subsequent anti-tumor immune responses remains unclear, so Dr. Elizabeth Steinert aims to characterize it. Specifically, she’s using a customized mouse cancer model that will enable her to determine how metformin alters immune responses, which cell types metformin’s anti-cancer activity depends upon, and how metformin can synergize with checkpoint immunotherapy to enable even more potent immune responses against tumors. These highly translational studies will then inform strategies for using metformin and other similar metabolism-targeting drugs in combination with current immunotherapies to improve patient outcomes.
Projects and Grants
Mitochondrial respiration in CD8 T cell mediated immune responses to solid tumors
Northwestern University | All Cancers | 2017 | Navdeep S. Chandel, Ph.D.
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