Metformin is the most commonly used medication for type 2 diabetes worldwide. In recent years, it has become clear that metformin also has anti-cancer properties and can prolong lifespan of model organisms such as C. elegans.
The Soukas Lab is exploring the biological mechanisms of how metformin has these beneficial effects. We recently published in Cell that metformin effects at mitochondria lead to alterations in nuclear transport, restricting nuclear access of the mTOR complex 1 activating protein RagC. When RagC is excluded from the nucleus, mTORC1 is inactivated, turning on the gene ACAD10, inhibiting cancer growth, and prolonging lifespan. Remarkably, this pathway is conserved from C. elegans to human.
The Soukas Lab continues to explore the health benefits of metformin and the mechanisms by which metformin blocks cancer growth, prevents certain cancers, increases health as organisms age, and lowers blood glucose in type 2 diabetes.