Fighting cancer with aspirin?

Research in the FASEB Journal provides clues for new cancer drugs

BETHESDA, Md.--When looking for new weapons in the war on cancer, scientists should turn to their medicine cabinets for an age-old remedy--aspirin. According to scientists at the University of Newcastle (UK), aspirin has cancer-fighting effects that extend beyond already understood Cox inhibitors. This finding, which appears in the October 2006 issue of The FASEB Journal, provides important clues to how aspirin works in cancer and in inflammation: aspirin reduces the formation of blood vessels that fuel developing tumors. Without new blood vessels (formed through a process called angiogenesis) tumors cannot grow. With this information, researchers can pursue new lines of investigation that could ultimately yield an entirely new type of cancer-fighting drug.

In the study, the researchers show that aspirin acts on the signaling molecule NFkappaB, which is known to trigger the formation of new blood vessels, an important part of tumor development. Additionally, Newcastle researchers found a dose-dependent relationship between blood vessel formation and the amount of aspirin used in the study. This new finding confirms and extends earlier evidence suggesting that NFkappaB is a target of aspirin action in inflammation; now researchers can work out exactly how signals interrupted by aspirin can control not only inflammation, but the biology of tumor growth as well.

"Aspirin has always been touted as a 'wonder drug,'" said Gerald Weissmann, MD, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, "and this study shows that we are still learning about the many actions of this amazing drug."

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The FASEB Journal (www.fasebj.org) is published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) and is consistently ranked among the top three biology journals worldwide by the Institute for Scientific Information. FASEB comprises 21 nonprofit societies with more than 80,000 members, making it the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States. FASEB's mission is to enhance the ability of biomedical and life scientists to improve through their research the health, well-being and productivity of all people. FASEB serves the interests of these scientists in those areas related to public policy, facilitates coalition activities among member societies and disseminates information on biological research through scientific conferences and publications.


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