- British experts find that the simple drug can cross the ‘blood-brain barrier’
- The hurdle has so far stopped cancer drugs from attacking brain tumours
- Research carried out at Portsmouth University is called a ‘game changer’
A drink containing liquid aspirin could extend the lives of thousands of brain cancer patients, according to breakthrough research.
British experts have found that the simple drug can cross the ‘blood-brain barrier’ – a hurdle which has so far stopped cancer drugs attacking brain tumours.
Scientists will today announce the results of early tests which show liquid aspirin is ten times more effective than any existing chemotherapy at killing brain cancer cells.
And the team is confident that even more powerful combinations could be created if liquid aspirin is combined with cancer drugs, enabling strong drugs to properly attack brain tumours for the first time.
The research, carried out by Portsmouth University and a three-man start-up company in Manchester, was last night welcomed by experts as a ‘game-changer’.
More than 16,000 people each year in Britain are diagnosed with a brain tumour, yet campaigners have long warned that patients are left behind by a system which allocates them just 1 per cent of the national cancer research spending.
Less than 20 per cent of brain cancer patients survive more than five years, compared to 87 per cent for breast cancer and 98 per cent for testicular cancer.
The standard treatment involves surgery, where possible, to remove the tumour, followed by radiotherapy and then chemotherapy.
But chemotherapy is rarely effective because the drug, which is delivered into the blood supply via a drip, cannot properly reach the tumour.
This is because brain cells are separated from the blood supply via the blood-brain barrier – a membrane which divides blood cells from cerebral fluid.
Most drug molecules are too large to get through this barrier, but the new research – to be presented today at the Brain Tumours 2016 conference in Warsaw, Poland – reveals that specially-formulated aspirin acts as a ‘Trojan horse’ to carry drugs through the barrier.
The breakthrough was made possible by a small company, working out of a family kitchen in Manchester, which has managed to make true liquid aspirin for the first time.
‘Soluble’ aspirins currently on the market are not completely soluble – contain grains that are too big to get through the membrane.
But Manchester-based Innovate Pharmaceuticals – comprised of brothers Simon and Jan Cohen with local A&E consultant Dr James Stuart – found that combining aspirin with a ‘solubiliser’ and a ‘stabiliser’ resulted in a truly liquid state.
The Portsmouth University team, whose research was funded by the Brain Tumour Research charity, found in lab tests that the solution showed huge promise.
More than 16,000 people each year in Britain are diagnosed with a brain tumour, yet campaigners have long warned that patients are left behind by a system which allocates them just 1 per cent of the national cancer research spending
They tested the liquid aspirin solution – known for now as IP1867B – on cancer cells from adults and children with a common and aggressive form of brain tumour called a glioblastoma.
And they found it was ten times more effective than any combination of other currently used drugs.
This is because aspirin itself has an ability to kill cancer cells. But if they add cancer drugs to the solution – which they have already started testing – they expect power of the treatment to substantially improve.
Sue Farrington Smith, chief executive of Brain Tumour Research, said: ‘This is a potential game-changer for research into brain tumours and clearly shows what sustainable research is able to achieve.
‘It is science like this that will enable us to eventually find a cure for this devastating disease which kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.’
Chemotherapy is rarely effective because the drug, which is delivered into the blood supply via a drip, cannot properly reach the tumour
All three ingredients are already approved for human use, meaning that trials should be quicker than otherwise for a new drug.
Experts expect the first human trials to start within two to three years.
Dr James Stuart, chief medical officer at Innovate Pharmaceuticals, said: ‘IP1867B represents a major step forward in therapeutics.
‘We are excited by the studies to date and hope that our future studies will prove this to be the breakthrough that patients have been waiting for.’
Aspirin has been used as a pain killer for thousands of years, since the Ancient Egyptians found that an extract of willow bark helped mothers cope with the pain of child birth.
But in recent years scientists have found that the cheap drug has many more applications.
Because it thins the blood and reduces inflammation, scientists are increasingly finding that it can ward off the threat of many diseases, including stroke, heart disease and several forms of cancer.
Link original: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3663188/How-liquid-aspirin-help-fight-brain-cancer-Special-version-drug-ten-times-effective-killing-cancer-cells-chemotherapy.html?ITO=applenews