The use of aspirin appears to reduce tumor growth and inhibit colorectal cancer recurrence, according to the findings of a study conducted by City of Hope researchers and published in Carcinogenesis.
“Some might say aspirin is a ‘miracle drug’ because of its potential to prevent diseases that result from chronic inflammation, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and arthritis,” said Ajay Goel, Ph.D., senior author of a new study and chair of the Department of Molecular Diagnostics, Therapeutics and Translational Oncology at City of Hope in a press release.
“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. We are getting closer to discovering the right amount of daily aspirin needed to treat and prevent colorectal cancer without causing scary side effects.”
In this study, researchers used mouse models and mathematical modeling to assess the amount of daily aspirin people in the U.S. and Europe are taking in clinical trials. They divided 432 mice into groups of low-dose aspirin (15mg/kg), medium-done aspirin (50mg/kg) and high-dose aspirin (100mg/kg). Subsequently, the researchers analyzed on days three, five, seven, nine, and 11.
The City of Hope-led research found that as the aspirin doses increased, the rate of cell death increased while the division rates of cells decreased, meaning tumor cells were more likely to die and not proliferate. “We are now working with some of the people conducting those human clinical trials to analyze data and use mathematical modeling. This process adds a layer of confidence to the findings and guides future human trial designs,” Goel said, adding that colorectal cancer is among the top five cancers diagnosed every year.
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“Speaking metaphorically, they were building a hurricane model to predict the path a cyclone would take,” said Russell Rockne, Ph.D., a mathematical oncology scientist at City of Hope who was not involved in the study. “Mathematics and computational biology increasingly play a larger role in basic and translational research in cancer. Mathematical oncologists like myself take data, separate it into discreet parts and use math to explain why something like aspirin could have an inhibitory effect against colorectal cancer.”
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