Aspirin Role In Cancer Treatments
February 14, 2012 by staff
Aspirin Role In Cancer Treatments, Scientists from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute in Melbourne say they have made an important discovery about how cancer spreads.
Researchers have known for years that common drugs like aspirin can help cancer patients, but they were not sure why.
Now they have found a link between drugs like aspirin and the ability for cancer tumours to spread in the body.
The institute’s associate professor Steven Stacker says the discovery unlocks a range of potential new pathways for treating cancer.
“Hopefully this insight is going to be very important to understanding how these drugs may work and in fact how the lymphatic vessels may really contribute to a tumour metastasis,” he said.
Professor Stacker says scientists have learned more about how the lymphatic vessels in the body’s circulatory system function.
Those vessels are often “hijacked” when a person has cancer.
“The blood vessels can be a conduit for cells to leave the primary tumour and go to other sites. The discovery we’ve found is that for the first time the major lymphatic vessels are seen to play their own individual role in this process,” he said.
Scientists found these vessels expand in the process of metastasis, increasing their volume and therefore allow cells and fluid to be transported more readily, a bit like a highway for cancer cells.
The researchers have discovered that drugs like aspirin, known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), can play a role in shutting down the dilation of these lymphatic vessels or cancer highways, effectively closing off a tumour’s supply lines.
“It does provide an opportunity now to try to inhibit that protein or inhibit that process, reduce the dilation of those lymphatic vessels and potentially reduce metastatic spread,” he said.
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