A research team from the University of Montreal revealed the mechanism of how metformin slows aging and cancer progression. In a study, they found that metformin reduces the production of inflammatory cytokines. These inflammatory cytokines are key players activating the immune system in tissue damage during aging and tumor growth in cancer development.
Dr. Gerardo Ferbeyre and colleagues found that metformin decreases cytokines by disrupting a protein called NF-kB that would normally trigger cytokine activation and the immune system. When cytokines are overproduced, this leads to pathological inflammation that is involved in both the aging and cancer processes.
Dr. Ferbeyre said, "This is an important finding with implications for our understanding on how the normal organism defends itself from the threat of cancer and how a very common and safe drug may aid in treatment of some cancers and perhaps slow down the aging process." He added, "It remains that determining the specific targets of metformin would give us an even better opportunity of profit from its beneficial effects. That’s what we want to figure out next." This finding may be an important step in finding a place for metformin therapy in anti-cancer and anti-aging therapy.
"Metformin inhibits the senescence-associated secretory phenotype by interfering with IKK/NF-B activation" Aging Cell, March 2013