A new study claims aspirin, a commonly used drug, could reduce the risk of bowel cancer and tumour growth. The findings could help researchers develop preventive therapies for this type of cancer. Researchers from the City of Hope, which is a private, not-for-profit clinical research centre in the United States (US).The team believes it could potentially be used to protect againstchronic inflammation like cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease
"The reason aspirin isn't currently being used to prevent these diseases is because taking too much of any anti-inflammatory, eats at the stomach's mucus lining, and causes gastrointestinal and other problems,"study co-author Ajay Goel told a news portal. Adding, "We are getting closer to discovering the right amount of daily aspirin needed to treat and prevent colorectal cancer without causing scary side effects."
For the study, mouse models and mathematical modelling were used to study the daily aspirin ingested by people in clinical trials in the United States (US) and Europe. The results showed as the dose of aspirin increased so did the rates of cell death increased. The team also found the division rates of cells decreased. The findings led researchers to believe that tumour cells could die and not grow due to aspirin.
"We are now working with some of the people conducting those human clinical trials to analyse data and use mathematical modelling. This process adds a layer of confidence to the findings and guides future human trial designs," Goel told a news portal.
A 2017 City of Hope-led study revealed aspirin could also help reduce the risk of breast cancer in women. "The study found an interesting protective association between low-dose aspirin and breast cancer," lead author Christina A. Clarke, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, told a news portal. Adding, "We did not by and large find associations with the other pain medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. We also did not find associations with regular aspirin since this type of medication is taken sporadically for headaches or other pain, and not daily for prevention of cardiovascular disease."
The team also focused their investigation on dose levels of the aspirin women had been taking. "We already knew that aspirin is a weak aromatase inhibitor and we treat women with breast cancer with stronger aromatase inhibitors since they reduce the amount of estrogen postmenopausal women have circulating in their blood," City of Hope's Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., professor and director of the Division of Biomarkers of Early Detection and Prevention, told a news portal. Adding, "We thought that if aspirin can inhibit aromatase, it ought to reduce the likelihood that breast cancer would develop and it could also be an effective way to improve breast cancer patients' prognosis once they no longer take the more potent aromatase inhibitors." Bernstein added, "Aspirin also reduces inflammation, which may be another mechanism by which aspirin taken regularly can lower risk of breast cancer developing or recurring."
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