SEP 14, 2016 11:32 AM PDT

Aspirin's Effects on Cardiovascular Disease and Colon Cancer

WRITTEN BY: Jennifer Ellis
‘An aspirin a day keeps the doctor away’
 
There have been conflicting views over the effects of aspirin over its more than 100 year reign as a diverse cure all to pain relief and preventative of heart disease and some cancers. Its mechanism for pain relief has long been proven by its ability to block the COX-1 enzyme, involved in inflammation and blood clotting. While this makes sense for pain relief, how does this associate with cardiovascular disease and cancer?
Mechanism of Aspirin blocking COX-1 (Libretexts/UCDavis)
A new approach from a team of scientists at Duke Health, led by Deepak Voora, M.D., assistant professor in Duke’s Center for Applied Genomics & Precision Medicine, can evaluate specific drug actions using genomic data, providing the team with an explanation of mechanisms of drug activity in the body. The team created an aspirin response signature (ARS) that allowed them to examine gene activity patterns in blood upon aspirin exposure. The ARS was developed using blood gene expression profiling methods before and after aspirin exposure in a set of healthy volunteers and validating the signature in a separate set of healthy and diseased patients.
 
The ARS consists of a network of 62 co-expressed transcripts associated with aspirin’s effects on platelet function and myocardial infarction. This gene network contained one commonality: regulation by RUNX1, a key regulator of genes controlling platelet and megakaryocyte function. The team discovered that aspirin can regulate RUNX1 gene expression, affecting associated platelet proteins. Up regulation of RUNX1 in blood is associated with decreased risk of death and heart attack in cardiovascular disease patients. RUNX1 is also a tumor suppressor correlated with increased survival rates in colon cancer patients.
Platelets are derived from megakaryocytes in the bone marrow and aid in clotting. (Public Domain)
Not only did the approach taken in this study shed additional light on aspirin’s specific mechanisms, it also provides a new way of thinking about how to look at drug activity using genomic profiling.

“This approach to comprehensively evaluate the actions of a drug using genomic data -- as we have done here with aspirin -- is a paradigm shift that could change how drugs are developed and positioned for clinical use, said co-author Geoffrey Ginsburg, M.D., director of the Center for Applied Genomics & Precision Medicine.

It turns out that aspirin’s diverse effects on several diseases are due to its ability to regulate gene expression of a common regulator. So, depending on your health, an aspirin a day might indeed keep the doctor away.

Sources: Duke Medicine, NCBI, EBioMedicine
 
About the Author
  • I love all things science and am passionate about bringing science to the public through writing. With an M.S. in Genetics and experience in cancer research, marketing and technical writing, it is a pleasure to share the latest trends and findings in science on LabRoots.
You May Also Like
JUL 28, 2020
Cardiology
Looking to Newborns for Help Healing Scars on the Heart
JUL 28, 2020
Looking to Newborns for Help Healing Scars on the Heart
Scars are a badge of honor to many, but they are really just a consequence of the body’s repair response. The body ...
JUL 30, 2020
Cardiology
Protecting the Heart Against Cardiotoxicity
JUL 30, 2020
Protecting the Heart Against Cardiotoxicity
Doxorubicin is a potent chemotherapy drug used for many different cancers. Unfortunately, like all chemotherapies, doxor ...
AUG 07, 2020
Cardiology
CT Method Can Find New Ways to Improve CPR
AUG 07, 2020
CT Method Can Find New Ways to Improve CPR
The time it takes for a person experiencing cardiac arrest to get help can make the difference between life and death.
SEP 01, 2020
Cardiology
Can the Protein Dysferlin Protect Your Heart from Reperfusion Injury
SEP 01, 2020
Can the Protein Dysferlin Protect Your Heart from Reperfusion Injury
Have you ever experienced the head rush you get from standing up to fast? Well, oddly enough, something similar happens ...
NOV 10, 2020
Cardiology
Liposomal Delivery Could Help Prevent Doxorubicin Cardiotoxicity
NOV 10, 2020
Liposomal Delivery Could Help Prevent Doxorubicin Cardiotoxicity
One of the greatest failures of modern cancer therapies is the rather substantial off-target toxic effects many radio-, ...
NOV 16, 2020
Cardiology
High Doses of Fish Oil Don't Reduce Risk of Cardiac Events
NOV 16, 2020
High Doses of Fish Oil Don't Reduce Risk of Cardiac Events
Many people take fish oil supplements to try to improve various aspects of their health, but new work from the Cleveland ...
Loading Comments...