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MT11-003: Pilot Study of Metformin for the Treatment of Feline Cancer

Metformin is a safe, effective, and inexpensive oral drug used in people with diabetes. The drug reduces cancer risk by nearly one-third and has anti-cancer effects against human cancer cells. Although ineffective for feline diabetes, metformin is well tolerated in cats. Cancer is a leading cause of death and sickness in geriatric cats, and there are limited effective treatments. Common tumors such as feline oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), lymphoma, and mammary carcinoma often lead to death within just a few months. Human cancers with known or potential metformin sensitivity (breast carcinoma, leukemia, head and neck SCC) are biologically similar to common feline cancers (mammary carcinoma, lymphoma, feline OSCC). Preliminary data demonstrates anti- cancer effects of metformin in feline cell lines. These reasons establish metformin as a promising candidate drug therapy for cats suffering from cancer. The purpose of this clinical study is to determine the optimal dose, toxicity, pharmacology, and potential efficacy of metformin therapy in pet cats with cancer and to evaluate non-invasive biomarkers of metformin biologic activity

Grant ID: MT11-003

Status: Active

Year Funded: 2011

Amount awarded: $15,775

Investigator: Jackie Wypij, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Oncology), Assistant Professor; University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign