Prevents Prostate Cancer
An aspirin a day may keep
the cardiologist away, but will it keep the urologist and oncologist
at bay too?
New research suggests it can.
According to a report published in the Sept. 20/00 issue of the
British Journal of Urology, aspirin may save the lives
of thousands of men from prostate cancer. Scientists at Hammersmith
Hospital, Imperial College School of Medicine and the Prostate
Biology Group in London say the humble aspirin may be able to
suppress the protein that causes prostate cancer.
They found a protein called
COX2, which helps cancer to spread, becomes overactive in prostate
cancer cells, occuring at four times the amount found in normal
prostate cells. Aspirin could block this process, the researchers
The next step is to conduct
a large-scale study to prove their theory, but the researchers
caution people against taking aspirin as a prophylactic against
prostate cancer since the pill can cause gastrointestinal problems
for some people. Aspirin has been used for at a century now as
a painkiller and new studies have found it may also protect against
On other cancer research,
studies suggest that aspirin's protective effect may be linked
with its anti-inflammatory action. Professor Angus Dalgleish,
of St George's Hospital in London, has suggested that the spread
of cancer is linked with the failure of the body's immune system
triggered by long-term inflammation caused by toxic agents in
food and air. Regular use of an anti-inflammatory such as aspirin
may boost the immune response, providing protection against cancer.
The theory is to be discussed
by the European Aspirin Foundation in November. It is based on
observations that levels of Th1-type (thymus derived helper cell)
immunity are unusually low in bowel cancer patients, which Professor
Dalgleish attributes to inflammatory disease being tackled by
the immune system.
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