You’ve heard of hybrid cars, which combine power sources—gasoline and an on-board rechargeable energy storage system (RESS). Now there’s a hybrid aspirin that combines acetylsalicylic acid, nitric oxide (NO) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S). They call it the “NOSH aspirin,” and they’re saying it can stop cancer cells from growing.
Cancer-fighting properties of the new hybrid aspirin are reported in the ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters. The same scientists had already developed a safer-on-the-stomach aspirin that used nitric oxide.
By adding hydrogen sulfide with its anti-inflammatory properties, the hope was that the aspirin would reduce the long-term inflammation that is thought to lead to abnormal cell growth and thereby contribute to a variety of cancers. Such long-term inflammation might come from infections or diseases such as HPV (can lead to cervical cancer) and hepatitis B (a precursor to liver cancer).
NO is important for a great many functions “in the gastrointestinal tract, including mucosal blood flow, maintenance of mucosal integrity, and maintenance of vascular tone,” according to the National Institutes of Health,
Scientists have for years been studying the role of hydrogen sulfide in the development of cancer prevention drugs. When they noted that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, watercress and Brussels sprouts naturally protect against stomach and colon cancers, they decided to mix
NO and H2S in the hope of coming up with dual benefits. Voila, the NOSH aspirin.
Laboratory tests on animals show the aspirin inhibits growth of breast, colon, pancreas, lung, prostate and some types of leukemia cancer cells without damaging normal cells. NOSH preparations were recorded as being 100,000 times more effective against cancer than regular aspirin.
Other studies have shown even regular aspirin offers a significant reduction of chances of hereditary cancers. But regular intake of aspirin carries a risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and in somecases Reye’s syndrome.
So it will probably come soon. Clinical trials will see whether the cost-benefit ratio of using NOSH aspirin for cancer prevention gets up to where it needs to be for human consumption.