Researchers at the University of Dundee have found that the functioning of the popular diabetes drug Metformin is based upon a set of genetic clues, which could open the way for the development of new drugs that help to keep diabetes in check.
In a study of blood samples and data from 20,000 diabetes patients in an investigation into how Metformin works, the scientists found the presence of gene called ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM), and showed how the effectiveness of the drug was determined by the ATM gene and a chromosome.
According to team member Ewan Pearso, the study used the genetics of drug response, called pharmacogenetics, to assess how Metformin functions, claiming that the ATM gene may be associated with the DNA damage response system of cells that could cause cancer.
Similar research by scientists at Oxford University has backed up these findings, in showing people respond differently to drug treatments for diabetes, although there is a need for further studies that accurately employ the genetic diagnosis as a guide to the variety of treatments for type 2 diabetes .
Metformin, which has been taken to treat diabetes for over 50 years, is taken by millions of diabetics around the world to treat their condition.

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