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Aspirin, Resveratrol Fight Cancer by Killing Abnormal Cells, Study

Feb 12, 2014 03:56 AM EST
aspirin (painkillers)

(Photo : cpradi/ flickrcreative commons )

Aspirin and resveratrol- a compound found in wine can fight cancers by destroying tetraploid cells, researchers from France have found.

Tetraploid cells have four copies of chromosomes, rather than the usual two sets. These cells are associated with precancerous lesions. Tetraploid cells aren't uncommon and the body usually gets rid of them. However, these cells are usually abundant in early stages of several cancers such as cancers of the cervix, breast and prostate.

In the present study, Guido Kroemer of the Gustave Roussy Institute in Villejuif, France and colleagues, wanted to find if aspirin and resveratrol could fight cancer by eliminating these tetraploids without damaging normal cells.

Several studies have shown that aspirin and resveratrol might lower risk of developing cancers. However, these studies have been criticized.

Kroemer and team used genetically modified mice to see effects of aspirin and the wine compound on cancers. The mice were genetically tweaked to have a high risk for developing intestinal cancer and had more tetraploid cells than other rodents.

The team found that when the mice were given either aspirin or resveratrol, the number of tetraploid cells decreased and with it the chances of developing cancer also decreased, according to Medicalxpress.

The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers believe that both aspirin and resveratrol work by activating an enzyme called AMPK. They found that the compounds increased activity of the enzyme in both normal and tetraploid cells, however only abnormal cells died.

"Collectively, our results suggest that the chemopreventive action of resveratrol and aspirin involves the elimination of tetraploid cancer cell precursors," researchers wrote in the journal.

A simple Google search for 'Aspirin and cancer prevention' generates over 2.2 million results. This editorial, published in 2012, discusses how prescribing common drugs to prevent cancers is still a far-fetched notion.

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