A famous drug for obesity is believed to kill cancer! – Al-Ghad newspaper

A famous drug for obesity is believed to kill cancer! – Al-Ghad newspaper
A famous drug for obesity is believed to kill cancer! – Al-Ghad newspaper

A common obesity drug was found to restore the function of immune cells that target cancer, regardless of whether people lost weight with the treatment.

A small trial led by a team of Irish researchers investigated whether semaglutide, a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes, could also help alleviate cellular metabolism problems in people with obesity, which may explain higher rates of cancer and infections. .

The weight loss was just an unexpected side effect of the drug, which diabetics use to keep blood sugar levels in check. It works by mimicking a gut hormone called GLP1, which makes users feel fuller for longer, which reduces appetite.

Now it appears that semaglutide has another potentially beneficial effect for people with obesity: restoring the function of immune cells called natural killer cells that drive the fight against cancer and infections.

Endocrinologist and co-author Donal O’Shea of ​​University College Dublin says: “We have finally reached the point where medical treatments for obesity are shown to prevent complications of obesity. The current findings represent very positive news for people with obesity on GLP-1 therapy and suggest that the benefits of this combination of therapies may extend to reducing cancer risk.”

This is a long arc to be drawn from a small study of 20 people, but it is plausible that restoring natural killer cells to their full fighting power could help reduce cancer risk.

Natural killer cells are part of the body’s innate immune system, which is the first line of defense that kicks into action at the first whiff of an intruder. It is known to focus on cancer cells and fight infection.

But people with obesity show a marked imbalance in their immune systems, which may be related to the fact that they are also susceptible to other chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and several types of cancer.

Given the overlap between diabetes and obesity, O’Shea and his colleagues were interested to see if reintroducing semaglutide of the latter could help correct some of the immune imbalances seen in obesity.

The study recruited 20 obese, non-diabetic subjects who were about to start semaglutide treatment once a week to control their weight and examined samples of their circulating immune cells after six months of treatment.


In a series of lab tests, the researchers found that the participants’ natural killer cells were no longer stagnant and began producing signaling molecules, called cytokines. The total number of NK cells in the patients’ blood samples did not change compared to baseline, but their function was restored.

And without a control group, we don’t know how this compares to non-obese people if they were to use semaglutide or to obese people taking a placebo. But it is a good starting point for further research to explore how existing medications might help treat some of the comorbidities of obesity.

The researchers are particularly interested in understanding how cell metabolism supports immune dysfunction in obesity, as it appears to regulate natural killer cell activity – and could tie this whole story together.

“Cell metabolism is a critical requirement for NK cell function, and can determine the magnitude of responses,” Oshi and colleagues wrote in their published paper. Upon activation, natural killer cells are formed and directed through endogenous metabolic processes and nutrient availability.” The other interesting thing is that only about half of the study participants lost weight on semaglutide, suggesting that its restorative effects on immune cells may be independent of weight loss.

However, weight loss is what semaglutide is primarily known for. Earlier this year, increased popularity among celebrities led to a worldwide shortage of semaglutide, which is marketed in the United States under the name Ozempic.

And diabetics struggled to find their weekly medication to keep their blood sugar from rising to dangerous levels.

Andrew Hogan, an immunologist at the University of Maynooth in Ireland, says: “I hope this is something that will be brought under control to ensure that as many people living with obesity as possible can start their own treatment of this beneficial drug.”

The study was published in the journal Obesity.




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