Anti-cancer `super` aspirin on the anvil?

London: A "super" aspirin drug against cancer is on its way, say scientists, who claim that the pill doesn`t have usual side-effects like stomach ulcers.

A team at the City College of New York says that their research in mice has shown the compound, called NOSH aspirin, is effective in fighting, amongst others, cancers of the
colon, lung, breast, prostate, pancreas and blood.

The compound was found to shrink human colon cancer tumours implanted in mice by 85 per cent, "without adverse affects", they claim.

"The key components of this new compound are that it is very, very potent and yet it has minimal toxicity to the cells," Professor Khosrow Kashfi, lead author of the study, was quoted by `The Daily Telegraph` as saying.

A number of previous studies, led by Oxford University, indicate that long-term consumption of low dose (75mg a day) aspirin can reduce the chance of developing cetain cancers by up to half.

However, critics note that aspirin can cause serious stomach ulcers in some people, particularly the elderly. The US researchers have therefore been working to create
a version that does not harm the stomach lining and has much stronger anti-cancer qualities. They noted NOSH aspirin was still an experimental drug and clinical use in humans was "years away".

Experts have welcomed the findings to some extent. Dr Kat Arney of Cancer Research UK said: "It will be interesting to see how this particular compound progresses."