Pharmaceutical International News - August 2007
Funding Provided for Bowel Cancer/Aspirin Research
Posted by Paul Fiddian on 10/08/2007 - 11:13:51
A £160,000 investment has been injected into a research programme being undertaken at Edinburgh University, in which scientists are currently assessing applications for aspirin in the field of bowel cancer. The funding was awarded to the team there by charity group Cancer Research UK.
The researchers recently found out that bowel cancer cells would destroy themselves when exposed to both aspirin, and comparable non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). However, it is the aspirin, and its ramifications for treating bowel cancer, that the scientists will now focus on, given that NSAIDS can provoke side effects when taken permanently. This makes them inherently unsuited to the prevention of cancer.
The team, which is spearheaded by Dr Lesley Stark, is aiming to therefore develop a new breed of drugs which have the same effect on cancer cells as does aspirin. This was confirmed in a statement made by Dr Stark, in which she said: “The ultimate aim of the study is to identify means other than NSAIDs that prevent bowel cancer in a similar way to aspirin."
She detailed how she and her team were also aiming to construct their own understanding of the biological processes that caused bowel cancer cells to break down when confronted with both NSAIDS and aspirin. "Understanding how NSAIDs act against bowel cancer gives us the chance to identify other drugs that have a similar preventative effect”, she added.
Each year in the UK, 36,000 new cases of bowel cancer are diagnosed. Within the same time-span, 16,000 people die from the disease. These two statistics combined make bowel cancer the second most prevalent cause of cancer-related death in Britain. In Scotland itself, 1,500 fatalities are recorded per annum.
On the wider worldwide scale, bowel cancer kills 655,000 people a year. In terms of age, the majority of cases occur in early-old age, in the 60s and 70s.
Source – Pharmaceutical International’s Sub Editor
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