Aspirin may boost immuno-oncology treatments for a number of cancers, suggests a new study conducted in the UK.
Combining aspirin with conventional immuno-oncology treatments may boost the latter’s capabilities to track and kill cancer cells more easily, according to the study conducted by researchers at the Francis Crick Institute, UK.
The research, funded by the Cancer Research UK and conducted on mice, proved that one possible drawback of conventional immunotherapies used to treat cancer might be related to hormone-like substance activated by cancer cells.
Coined prostaglandin E2 or PGE2, the molecule is released in the body in large amounts as a result of the presence of cancer cells. Prostaglandin E2 acts a switch that stops the immune system from attacking faulty cells in the body.
Aspirin and other COX inhibitors are a powerful and cost-effective tool that inhibits precisely the production of prostaglandin E2, while boosting the immune system. According to the research findings, combining aspirin with immuno-oncology treatments led to a significant slowing down of both melanoma skin cancer and bowel cancer in mice.
The research is still in its early phases, stated lead author of the study and group leader with the Francis Crick Institute, Caetano Reis e Sousa. Yet, if following trials and steps of the research are to yield the same effective results, combining aspirin or COX inhibitors with immunotherapy will prove essential for cancer patients.
Peter Johnson, professor with the Cancer Research UK, stated:
“This research was carried out in mice, so there is still some way to go before we will see patients being given COX inhibitors as part of their treatment. But it’s an exciting finding that could offer a simple way to dramatically improve the response to treatment in a range of cancers”.
It is indeed exciting new ground for research. Last year, a different study showed how aspirin lowers the risk of both developing and dying due to several cancers of the digestive tract. Combining aspirin with immunotherapies targeting cancers could soon yield life-changing results for patients.
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