IIT Madras Team Makes Startling Discovery, Says Common Headache Drug Aspirin Could Help Treat Cancer

The study could pave the way for more potent and affordable cancer treatment.

In what could possibly end up becoming a massive breakthrough in the treatment of cancer, a research team from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT Madras) has been successfully able to prove that a common aspirin pill helps terminate cancer cells.

The study, which was published in the journal Scientific Reports, links how the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug actually plays a crucial role in targeting malignant cells.

Image for representation. Photo source: Pixabay

IIT-M Professor of Biotechnology Amal Kanti Bera spoke to India Today about the breakthrough study noting, “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.”

According to data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the number of people who will be afflicted with cancer in the near future is slated to grow exponentially. A report in 2016 noted that by 2020, there are likely to be 17.3 lakh new cases. The report had also stated that there were around 14.5 lakh in 2016 alone.

While the scientific community has for a few years grappled with whether something as inexpensive as aspirin could treat cancer, this research has provided sufficient conclusion.


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This study can now be used as a base to develop drugs that can fight cancer in a more effective manner. Also, since aspirin is for the most part, one of the most inexpensive drugs available, it will also pave the way for more affordable cancer treatment in the future.

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