New Delhi: Aspirin, also known as acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), has been used to treat pain, fever, and inflammation. The pill is also a common name among households in treating headaches, common cold and such ailments.
Aspirin is already used by millions to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Now, a research team from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-Madras) has claimed that aspirin can help terminate cancer cells.
Although, a number of research studies have in the past suggested that the drug could have a major role in treating and preventing cancer, this research has provided sufficient evidence on how the cheap pill acts against tumour cells.
The research found that the drug induces high levels of calcium ions in the mitochondria of the cancer cells.
“Elevated levels of calcium prevent mitochondria from breaking down food into energy. Aspirin prevents this energy production and releases toxic substances that kill the cell,” IIT-M Professor of Biotechnology Amal Kanti Bera was quoted as saying.
Every year, about 2.2 million people died due to cancer in India, which retained its position as the world's largest contributor to cancer deaths falling at 8.2 million per year. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines cancer as “the uncontrolled growth and spread of cells.
While it would take some years for scientists to authenticate these results since it needs large clinical studies to come to the conclusion that aspirin can be directly used as canti-cancer drug. However, their breakthrough findings may speed up the development of drugs that can fight cancer in an effective manner.
The study has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.