Scientists have developed a new hybrid form of aspirin that is effective in shrinking tumors of more than 10 different forms of cancer in mice.
Aspirin is primarily a pain-killer drug but has been known for several other effects too such as thinning the blood and reducing the risk of cancer of the colon. When taken regularly, aspirin has been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by half but the problem is that it has several side effects such as ulcers, internal bleeding and failure of the kidney when taken in high doses for prolonged periods of time.
Now, researchers have come up with an improved version of aspirin that is effective at very low doses and therefore, has very low toxicity. When this hybrid aspirin molecule reaches the stomach, it causes the formation of nitric oxide and hydrogen sulfide gases. While the nitric oxide has a protective effect on the gastric lining, the hydrogen sulfide increases the anticancer effect of the aspirin.
Announcing this, Prof Khosrow Kashfi of The City College of New York said:
“At 72 hours it is about 250,000 times more potent in an in-vitro cell culture against human colon cancer. So you need a lower amount to get the same result. If what we have seen in animals can be translated to humans, it could be used in conjunction with other drugs to shrink tumors before chemotherapy or surgery.”
The new compound called NOSH aspirin has shown activity against human cancer cells grown in mice without causing any damage of normal cells. Efficacy has been observed against leukemia, breast, and colon, prostate and pancreatic cancers.
This study received funding from The National Cancer Institute and the results are to be presented at the end of this month in Chicago during the meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.
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