Diabetes drug could help children with brain cancer

Dr Mabbott
Dr Donald Mabbott

What if a common diabetes drug could enhance brain function in childhood brain cancer survivors? Thanks to your amazing support, a new clinical trial* is testing a promising treatment to repair brain injury and improve quality of life for these children.

The reality is that two-thirds of childhood cancer survivors experience at least one chronic side effect from their cancer therapy. The therapy they require is aggressive, and while it is very successful in treating cancer, it can damage growing brains and lead to long-term cognitive challenges.

CCS-funded researcher Dr Donald Mabbott is leading a national clinical trial that could help ease these side effects. He and his team are looking to see whether a diabetes drug called metformin, which is known to simulate stem cells in the brain, can help boost cognitive function and enhance recovery in childhood brain cancer survivors.

If successful, this new treatment could lead to a shift in care from helping children and families manage potential long-term cognitive challenges to actively preventing and treating them.

“We’re really moving from a model that says ‘let’s help survivors manage and compensate for their injury’ to one where we actually treat the injury itself by harnessing the brain’s own capacity for repair,” says Dr Mabbott, who is grateful for your support in helping to make this trial possible.

Thank you. Your steadfast generosity is helping to change the lives of children affected by brain cancer.

*Funded by the Canadian Cancer Society in partnership with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)