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Combination of Chemo Drug (Imatinib) and Diabetes Drug (Metformin) Shows Potential for Treating Ewing Sarcoma

Ewing sarcoma, an aggressive tumor that commonly affects bones in adolescents and young adults, is diagnosed in approximately 225 American children and teens every year, accounting for about 1 percent of pediatric cancers. Although Ewing sarcoma has been studied for decades, it has no effective cure and a survival rate of just 20-30% for patients who relapse; furthermore, most treatments require surgical resections or amputation and this impacts quality of life of the patients. But a research team at Houston Methodist aims to change those odds. A new possibility for treatment is proposed by Stephen Wong (photo), PhD, John S. Dunn Sr. Presidential Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Engineering and Professor of Computer Science and Bioengineering in Oncology at Houston Methodist. He is proposing a combination of two well-known drugs as a new treatment option for Ewing sarcoma--the chemotherapy drug imatinib and the diabetes drug metformin. A report describing the research of Dr. Wong and colleagues on this possible treatment option was published in the January 2020 issue of Cancer Letters. The article is titled “Imatinib Revives the Therapeutic Potential of Metformin on Ewing Sarcoma by Attenuating Tumor Hypoxic Response and Inhibiting Convergent Signaling Pathways.”

[Press release] [Cancer Letters abstract]