Doctors from the University of Alabama have discovered that the diabetes drug metformin (AKA glucophage in Canada) has been accelerating the reversal of pulmonary fibrosis in mice. Pulmonary fibrosis is a disease that forms scar tissue on the lungs and usually progresses to death. If this were to work on humans, this will be a major discovery and could finally give hope to thousands of patients suffering from the disease. The life expectancy is 3-5 years after a diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis. Some patients might actually be able to delay or avoid a lung transplant after all. Up to today, nothing has been known to work in reversing pulmonary fibrosis. The drugs Perfenidone and Nintedanib are the only two FDA approved for PF but they only slow down the progression of the disease. They don’t actually reverse it. Now the big question: Is there a doctor somewhere already using metformin on pulmonary fibrosis patients??
Below was written in 2015 but the research article dates from 2011
This is what researchers at Duke University in North Carolina are suggesting. They simply need to find a way to cut off the supply of sugar to the invasive cells that create fibrosis in the lungs. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), just like its name mentions it, has no known cause. But the pulmonologists do know one thing though: it kills people. On average, after a diagnosis of IPF is given, the survival rate is only 3 years.
The lungs are kind of self-destructing themselves by forming something similar to scar tissue. Scar tissue is OK for a cut on an arm or a leg but will make the lungs stiffer progressively destroying the lung function to the point of making it impossible for someone to breathe. This is a non-reversible disease process and the only treatment option at this time in the US is lung transplant. IPF patients on a lung transplant waiting list have usually the highest score of all other candidates due to the acuity of their illness.
This disease affects 100,000 people in the US every year and a relatively low number of them received a lung transplant. Some patients are just too old or too sick while others, unfortunately, get referred to a transplant center too late. If you know someone with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, it may be good to suggest them a lung transplant