Bin Zheng on the Potential of Diabetes Drugs in Melanoma
Bin Zheng, PhD, assistant professor of Dermatology at Harvard Medical School and assistant biologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses the potential for phenformin, a drug created for Type 2 diabetes, to be used for patients with melanoma.
As shown in a mouse model, phenformin inhibits myeloid-derived suppressor cells and enhances the anti-tumor activity of PD-1 blockades in melanoma. While the drug was discontinued for patients with diabetes due to toxicities, Zheng said that the toxic profile for phenformin is low when compared to some other cancer regimens.
Zheng said he hopes to bring this therapy into the clinical setting, and soon there will be a clinical trial that combines phenformin with PD-1 and/or MEK inhibitors for patients with melanoma.