Experiments on mice suggest that giving cheap aspirin to cancer patients may increase the effectiveness of expensive new medicines by far which helps their immune system fight the tumours.
While offering a better, longer-lasting response with comparatively lesser adverse side effects than conventional treatment,Immuno therapy promises to revolutionise cancer care, however, the new drugs may not work well in all cases.
As cancer cells often producing large amounts of the molecule prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) could be a reason, it turns down the immune system's normal attack response to tumour cells, according to scientists at London's new Francis Crick Institute.
Aspirin blocks PGE2 production and the researchers found that adding it to animmunotherapy treatment called anti-PD-1 substantially slowed the growth of bowel and melanoma cancers in mice when compared with treatment by immunotherapy alone. While there is evidence that the method that worked in mice shall also work in humans tissues, however, it is a far hope before it is proven practically.
Still, the research adds to aspirin's reputation as a "wonder drug". First synthesised by a chemist at Bayer more than a century ago, the medicine is already used to prevent heart attacks and has previously been reported to reduce the risk of bowel and other cancers.
Caetano Reis e Sousa, senior group leader at the London institute, hopes that adding aspirin or other so-called COX inhibitor drugs will one day make a big difference to the benefits the patients get from immunotherapy. "What we would like to do next is set up a clinical trial," he told Reuters. "We will need to persuade a company to sponsor that and we have had some preliminary conversations."
Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb both have recently approved anti-PD-1 drugs, while competing anti-PD-L1 medicines are in development at rival companies including Roche and AstraZeneca.
With immunotherapy to evolve in the future, usage of multi-drug combinations, adding aspirin to the mix would be one way to help keep a lid on soaring costs.
(With inputs from web)
By Sree Teja
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