Scientists from St. John's University, Queens, have provided an excellent drug-delivery method for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. This newly designed and tested method uses chitosan containing lipid vesicles called Chitosome as carriers for the delivery of metformin, an anti-tumor drug, against malignant pleural mesothelioma.

The study was published in May of this year and has provided the researchers and scientists working on the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma with an incredibly efficient drug-delivery method. No previous study had examined this approach for metformin delivery to control mesothelioma.

Metformin- as an anti-tumor drug

Metformin is widely marketed under the name, Glucophage and is taken orally. It is generally used as the first-line medication for Type two diabetes mellitus. This drug helps control and improve blood sugar levels in type two diabetes mellitus patients.

However, recent studies have demonstrated the anti-tumor role of Metformin in various types of tumors.

Inhibition of the development of particular protein pathways that target the growth of anti-tumor agents, and regulate the growth and metabolism of the tumor cells is an important factor in suppressing the growth of the tumor.

Expression of mTOR pathways is increased in many types of human tumors. Particularly in many of the mesothelioma cases, mTOR pathways are activated and their expression is up-regulated. Suppression mTOR pathways can significantly reduce tumor cell growth.

Metformin acts as an inhibitor of mTOR pathways. And depending upon the cell/ tumor type, Metformin causes apoptosis, autophagy, or cycle arrest.

The effect of Metformin on mesothelioma tumors has recently been studied, and the results have proved to be the beam of light for the patients. One such study is Japanese research published back in 2017 which revealed that Metformin suppressed the growth of 9 types of mesothelioma cells.

Met-loaded chitosome and its effect against Mesothelioma

Surely, Metformin is now clinically used as an anti-tumor agent. Still, harmless, efficient, and more effective methods are required for the controlled and prolonged release of Metformin.

In this study, researchers prepared chitosomes by fully encapsulating Metformin inside the lipid vesicle.

Researchers studied the efficiency of drug release and the total time it took for maximum drug delivery. Met-loaded chitosomes delivered about 70% of the drug in 72 hours. The prolonged time taken for the release of Metformin increased its cellular uptake, thus improving the cytotoxic activity of Metformin.

Moreover, metformin showed extraordinary results as an anti-tumor drug against malignant pleural mesothelioma.

  • The metastatic growth of pleural mesothelioma cells considerably reduced as compared to the untreated tumor cells.
  • A significant decrease in tumor volume was observed.
  • In-vitro tumor simulation studies showed minimal viable cells for growth in the tumor.

Overall, this research has given an incredibly effective alternative treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma. As the author wrote, "The obtained results establish the effectiveness of chitosomes as a delivery carrier for Met as a treatment alternative for malignant pleural mesothelioma."

More research and clinical trials on Metformin-loaded chitosomes treatment can further prove its effectiveness in tumor reduction. To find improved treatment options for malignant pleural mesothelioma, several studies like this one are underway.

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