Research investigating possible treatment for abdominal aortic aneurysm

Monash researchers are looking whether a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes (T2DM) can help those suffering abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), which affects approximately 20 million people and causes 200,000 deaths annually.

While research has discovered that AAAs are less common in patients with diabetes, researchers are now investigating whether Metformin, a widely accepted treatment for T2DM due to its anti-inflammatory effects, has an effect on AAA growth and rupture.

“Currently, once an AAA is detected, we have to monitor the aneurysm until it expands to a size where surgery can be performed. Our hope for the trial is to establish if Metformin can not only prevent the need for surgery, but prevent any further growth and rupture,” says Associate Professor Anthony Dear from Monash Eastern Health Clinical School, who is leading the Metformin Aneurysm Trial (MAT) in Melbourne.

AAAs are difficult to detect, but some people notice constant pain in their abdomen, back pain and a pulse near their belly button.

There are a number of factors that play a role in developing an AAA, with the condition more prevalent in men, smokers, those with family history, people over 65 or those who have experienced an aneurysm in another large blood vessel.

The multi-centre randomised placebo-controlled trial is taking place across Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and the UK and is being supported by The George Institute for Global Health, National Health and Medical Research Council Australia (NHMRC) and James Cook University, Australia.

To learn more about the study, visit: georgeinstitute.org/projects/mat-study-determining-the-effects-of-metformin-among-people-with-small-abdominal-aortic

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