• aspirin pills

aspirin pills (Photo : Reuters)

Taking aspirin daily could slow breast cancer growth, based on early trials in a new study. It showed that the headache pills stopped the growth of cancer tumors in mice by about 50 percent, making it a possible new breast cancer treatment.   

The cancer study was conducted at the Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Sushanta Banerjee was the lead researcher.

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The medical team discovered that aspirin might make the area around the cancer stem cells an unfriendly environment to reproduce in. Treatments such as radiation are performed to shrink cancer tumors, yet even when that happens they often regrow in 5 or 10 years.

Cancer contains stem cells. They can survive cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, and hide until the conditions for reproduction are ideal again.

This medical reality makes the search for a breast cancer cure very challenging.  Dr. Banerjee described the reappearing cancerous tumors as "nasty."

His team tested aspirin's anti-cancer value. In their search for a breast cancer treatment, they used incubated cells and mice models to change the cancer cells' molecular structure, and thus prevent their spread.

To conduct their cancer research the researchers  incubated breast cancer cells on 96 hot plates. They then added different amounts of acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) on half the lab samples.

The cancer cells' exposure to aspirin boosted their rate of death. In addition, several of the cells that did not die were unable to grow.

For the second part of the study, Dr. Banerjee daily gave a human-equivalent 75 mg of aspirin to half of 20 mice with cancer tumors.  It is a relatively low dose.

After the study period, the average weight of the aspirin-treated mice's tumors was 47 percent lower, according to Financial Express. Aspirin also prevented cancer growth in other lab mice.  

The researchers noted that trials have yet to be conducted on humans, according to The Times. However, the lab tests show promise. Their findings suggest that the pain reliever has powerful anti-cancer properties that could benefits human cancer victims.  

Dr. Banerjee explained that the breast cancer treatment could be given after chemotherapy, to prevent tumor regrowth. Aspirin could also be a cancer prevention tool.