Saturday, 10 March 2012
Potent 'super aspirin' can blitz cancer cells
Scientists have developed a new 'super aspirin' which has the power to treat 11 different types of cancer.
The Express reports that the new dug, known as NOSH, can be used in lower doses than conventional aspirin with fewer side effects, and tests have shown that it can shrink cancer cells by 85 per cent.
Research at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at The City College of New York has found that the drug is effective against cancers including colon, pancreatic, prostate, breast and leukaemia.
Previous research has shown that ordinary aspirin can reduce the size of some tumours by half, but prolonged use can have serious side effects, including bleeding, ulcers and kidney failure. However, the new formulation is much safer to take.
Professor Kashfi from the Sophie Davis School said: "If what we have seen in animals can be translated to humans it could be used in conjunction with other drugs to shrink tumours before chemotherapy or surgery."
He added: "The key components of this new compound are that it is very, very potent and yet it has minimal toxicity to normal cells.
"There'a s lot of data on aspirin showing that when taken on a regular basis, on average it reduces the risk of development of colon cancer by about 50 per cent compared to non-users.
Tests showed that just 24 hours after treating a culture of cancer cells, the NOSH aspirin had 100,000 times more potency than regular aspirin.
In a second study, mice with human colon cancer tumours were given NOSH aspirin. The drug caused cancer cells to self-destruct and reduced tumour growth, without any sign of toxicity.
Professor Kashfi 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."
The Daily Mail reports that the new compound is based on a hybrid of two previous formulations. One part of the hybrid aspirin releases nitric oxide (NO), which helps protect the stomach lining. The other releases hydrogen sulphide (H2S), which previous research has shown improves aspirin's cancer fighting ability.
Dr Kat Arney, science information manager at Cancer Research UK, told The Express: "Scientists have been investigating the cancer-fighting properties of aspirin for many year, although prolonged use can cause side effects such as stomach bleeds.
"It will be interesting to see how this particular compound progresses, although much more research is need to show whether it's safe and effective for use in humans."
Writing in the journal ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters, Professor Kashfi said that treatment for humans was still years away, but toxicity testing and clinical trials would be the next step.
Professor Kashfi and his colleagues will present their findings at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Chicago at the end of the month.