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Aspirin may Boost Treatments

Posted 9/10/2015

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  For some time now, there have been suggestions that aspirin may reduce the risk of getting cancer in the first place and may reduce the risk of recurrence. Joined by the widely known positive influence of aspirin on reducing the risks of heart attacks and strokes, many of us have been taking the little white pill daily. As I have written before, there are certain medical conditions that could be worsened by daily aspirin (e.g. people who have risks of bleeding or difficulty clotting), so this is definitely an  "Ask your doctor" situation. Now, from the UK, comes a study suggesting that combining aspirin with some cancer treatments may make them more effective. 

  Given that I am still in beautiful Maine and fighting the internet (this is the 4th time I have sat down today to try to write this, and this is the first time that I could even get into the system), I will proceed directly to an article from 

Aspirin may help boost effectiveness of cancer treatment

Giving cancer patients aspirin at the same time as immunotherapy could dramatically boost the effectiveness of the treatment, according to new research published in the journal Cell today (Thursday).

Francis Crick Institute researchers, funded by Cancer Research UK, have shown that skin, breast and bowel cancer cells often produce large amounts of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). This molecule dampens down the immune system's normal response to attack faulty cells, which helps cancer to hide. It is a trick that allows the tumour to thrive and may explain why some immunotherapy treatments have not been as effective as hoped.

Aspirin is part of a group of molecules called COX inhibitors, which stop the production of PGE2 and help reawaken the immune system. Combining immunotherapy with aspirin or other COX inhibitors substantially slowed bowel and melanoma skin cancer growth in mice, compared to immunotherapy alone*.

Study author Professor Caetano Reis e Sousa, senior group leader at the Francis Crick Institute, said: "We've added to the growing evidence that some cancers produce PGE2 as a way of escaping the immune system. If you can take away cancer cells' ability to make PGE2 you effectively lift this protective barrier and unleash the full power of the immune system.

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