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February 17, 2006

Aspirin Derivative Found To Help Treatment Of Ovarian Cancer

Topics: Medicine

Although most people probably wouldn't associate car exhaust fumes with cancer prevention, those fumes, however, contain nitric oxide (NO), which are small gaseous free radical molecules that are also produced by human cells essential to the regulation of a host of important biological functions, from the immune response to blood pressure. Human clinical trials have been evaluating "NO-donating" compounds to treat diseases and conditions as diverse as asthma and Alzheimer's, to cancer - including colorectal, pancreatic and as discussed in this article, ovarian cancer.

Here we have a report on a study conducted by researchers from Ohio State University who have found that a derivative of aspirin called NCX-4016 (which is a "NO" donating" compound), holds potential for the treatment of ovarian cancer when combined with the chemotherapy drug cisplatin.

As a first course of treatment, ovarian cancer is generally treated with surgery followed by a regimen of the chemotherapy drug cisplatin. However, cisplatin is not an effective treatment when the ovarian cancer inevitably returns. The study showed how NCX-4016 can be used to re-sensitize ovarian cancer cells to chemotherapy with cisplatin.

Once treated with cisplatin, the ovarian cancer cells develop an abundance of thiols, which are a kind of cellular antioxidants that protect the cancer from the chemotherapy. The scientists hypothesized that the abundance of thiols could be used against the ovarian cancer cells. The study found that the nitric oxide released from the aspirin derivative NCX-4016 reacts with the cellular thiols, which causes the cancer cells to stop proliferating. In addition, the nitric oxide depletes the thiols, making the cancer cells more susceptible to the chemotherapy.

"The nitric oxide-releasing ability of the aspirin derivative NCX-4016 is enhanced by thiols, so I thought this type of treatment might work better in a tumor cancer cell that is rich in thiols, such as a resistant ovarian cancer," said Periannan Kuppusamy, a professor of internal medicine at the Ohio State University.

NCX-4016 just happens to also function as a novel antithrombotic and vascular anti-inflammatory agent, which is being developed by NicOx for the treatment of peripheral arterial obstructive disease (PAOD) and other cardiovascular-related disorders.

Posted by Richard at February 17, 2006 10:48 PM

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