Ozempic and Wegovy May Aid Anti-Cancer ‘Natural Killer’ Cells

People with obesity who take Ozempic or Wegovy to shed excess pounds might get an unexpected benefit.

Results of a small experiment published May 9 in the journal obesity suggest that drugs containing semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy, might help reduce the risk of cancer. That’s because the study found that semaglutide restored the function of so-called “natural killer” cells, which plays a role in fighting cancer but often doesn’t work properly in people with obesity.

“People with obesity can develop a variety of health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, and cancer,” said the lead study author, Conor de Barra, a PhD candidate and immunology researcher at Maynooth University in Ireland, in a statement. “These can have very negative impacts on their quality of life.”

Are There Additional Benefits for Taking Ozempic?

For the study, researchers examined data on 20 people with obesity who had impaired natural killer cell function. Scientists gave all participants weekly doses of semaglutide, which belongs to a class of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogues that were originally developed to treat diabetes, but have gained popularity as a treatment for weight loss.

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