A recent study has found that innovative, latest generation cancer treatments may not necessarily be the only answer when it comes to breast cancer, instead a daily dose of good old aspirin proved very effective in preventing breast cancer from spreading any further.
Dr. Sushanta Banerjee, research director of the Cancer Research Unit at the Kansas City, gave a statement informing that “In cancer, when you treat the patient, initially the tumor will hopefully shrink”. He went on to explain that unwanted problems typically occur five (5) to ten (10) years down the road when the patient goes through a relapse
He shared that cancer stem cells, also known as residual cells, are sneaky. Since they’ve already survived chemotherapy and other cancer treatment, they strategically go dormant and patiently wait for the conditions inside the patient’s body to become favorable for them to start reproducing again. Then, years later, they reappear and usually adopt an aggressive behavior.
The study, published in the July issue of Laboratory Investigation, reveals that aspirin has certain active components that can stop cancer stem cells from reproducing once they reappear.
In order to prove his hypothesis, professor Banerjee conducted cell tests. He placed breast cancer cells in 96 different plates and incubated them. One half of them were exposed to various doses of aspirin, the medicine quickly started working, and the results showed that exposing cancer stem cells to acetylsalicylic acid causes more of them to die off.
The cancer stem cells that didn’t die in the test did not escape unharmed either as the aspirin left them unable to grow.
Professor Banerjee took testing even further by examining 20 mice with aggressive tumors. Half of these subjects were administered the human equivalent of 75 milligrams of aspirin each day, for 15 days.
Even though this is considered to be a small dose, it proved to be every effective in fighting off breast cancer – the mice that had received a daily dose of aspirin had tumors that were 47 percent (47%) smaller than those of then mice that hadn’t received aspirin.
What’s even more remarkable is that aspirin can also prevent breast cancer. Banerjee and his team of researchers took another group of mice and gave them aspirin for 10 days before exposing them to cancer cells. 15 days later, these mice had a lot less cancerous growth than the mice in their control group.
Professor Banerjee explained that “We found aspirin caused these residual cancer cells to lose their self-renewal properties. Basically, they couldn’t grow or reproduce. So there are two parts here. We could give aspirin after chemotherapy to prevent relapse and keep the pressure on, which we saw was effective in both the laboratory and the mouse model, and we could use it preventatively”.
The researcher warns, however, that patients should not start taking a daily dose of aspiring without first consulting their doctor. The medicine could also prove to be dangerous as it thins the blood and increases the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.
He stresses that this is a fairly new treatment with potential unknown side-effects. But he also believes in it. Banerjee himself has been taking aspirin daily for the past three (3) years. So far, he has not experienced any ugly side-effects.
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