Millions of people already take aspirin to cut their risk of heart disease. Now this drugstore staple has a new role: cancer-fighter.
Combined with standard cancer treatments like chemotherapy, the anti-inflammatory pain reliever has the power to block the production of a cancer molecule that helps tumors evade the body’s natural infection-fighting defenses, British researchers found. And even though the research was done on mice, scientists from the Francis Crick Institute in London found that aspirin was especially effective in slowing down bowel-, skin-, and breast-cancer cells.
These cancer cells produce a chemical that dampens the body’s immune system, making it easier for the cells to form tumors. In combination with other treatments, aspirin can block the chemical, and help the body’s immune system function the way it’s supposed to.
It may be some time before aspirin becomes a regular part of cancer treatment. But as Professor Caetano Reis e Sousa, the lead scientist of the study told the Telegraph, “It’s still early work, but this could help make cancer immunotherapy even more effective, delivering life-changing results for patients.”