London, March 10 (ANI): Scientists have developed a potent "super aspirin" that can cause cancer cells to self-destruct.
The hybrid version is much more powerful than the conventional painkiller but far less toxic.
Prolonged use of traditional aspirin can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure.ut the new compound, known as NOSH, can be used in lower doses and has fewer side effects, the Daily Express reported.
In tests on mice, it has been shown to shrink cancer cells by 85 per cent.
The pill is effective against 11 different forms of cancer, including colon, pancreatic, prostate, breast and -leukaemia, researchers have found.
About the breakthrough, Professor Khosrow Kashfi, of the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at The City College of New York, 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."
"The key components of this new compound are that it is very, very potent and yet it has minimal toxicity to normal cells," Professor Kashfi added.
Previous research has shown that ordinary aspirin can reduce the size of some tumours by up to half. But prolonged use of the old form of the drug can have serious side effects such as excessive bleeding.
Professor Kashfi noted: "There's a 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."
Only 24 hours after treating a culture of cancer cells, the NOSH aspirin demonstrated 100,000 times greater potency than aspirin alone.
"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," Professor Kashfi said.
The new drug is a hybrid of two compounds, one of which releases nitric oxide to protect the stomach lining and the other releases hydrogen sulfide to increase its cancer-fighting ability.
Lower doses would minimise or potentially eliminate its side effects.
In a second study, when mice bearing human colon cancer tumours on their flanks were given NOSH aspirin, the compound caused cancer cells to self-destruct, inhibited the proliferation of the cells and significantly reduced tumour growth without any signs of toxicity.
Writing in the journal ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters, Professor Kashfi said any working therapy for humans was still years away, but toxicity testing and clinical trials would be the next step.
His findings will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Chicago next month. (ANI)
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