JUN 05, 2018 6:22 PM PDT

Mechanism of Aspirin's Anti-Colon Cancer Effects Revealed

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

For some people, aspirin can help prevent colon cancer; now researchers have learned more about how that happens. It seems the medicine is able to halt an important process that has been connected to the growth of tumors. The work, which was done by scientists at the University of Edinburgh, has been reported in Nucleic Acid Research. It has also revealed more about how an organelle called the nucleolus senses and responds to stress.

Colon cancer cells / Credit: Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

The investigators used tumor samples taken from colon cancer patients for part of this work. They exposed cells grown in the lab and from the patient samples to aspirin and assessed the effects. 

Their study was focused on the pathways and processes of the nucleolus, a cellular organelle where vital signaling and processes occur. The scientists found that the actions of an important molecule called TIF-1A are disrupted by aspirin. That molecule is critical for nucleoli to function. Activation of that organelle has been linked, however, to tumor formation; dysfunction in the nucleolus has been connected to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

"We are really excited by these findings as they suggest a mechanism by which aspirin may act to prevent multiple diseases. A better understanding of how aspirin blocks TIF-IA and nucleolar activity provides great promise for the development of new treatments and targeted therapy," said Dr. Lesley Stark, of the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre at the University of Edinburgh.

Long-term use of aspirin can cause internal bleeding and may result in stroke, so even though regular consumption of aspirin is known to reduce a person’s risk of developing the disease, it is not recommended. This work can help show who is most likely to benefit from the drug. Better therapeutics that have similar impacts can also be developed now.

Rates of colon cancer, also known as bowel cancer, have generally been going down. But there has been another trend; it’s on the rise in young people, and researchers don’t know why. The increase has been determined to be about three percent, and some researchers have suggested it could be due to lifestyle factors. The American Cancer Society is now recommending that people begin screening for colon cancer at age 45, instead of 50. Learn more from the video.

Sources: AAAS/Eurkekalert! Via University of Edinburgh, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Nucleic Acids Research

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
MAY 02, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Coral Cells Can Spit Out the Symbionts They Don't Want
MAY 02, 2021
Coral Cells Can Spit Out the Symbionts They Don't Want
Some microalgae are symbionts, like dinoflagellates that live in coral. A symbiotic sea anemone is seen in this image by ...
MAY 12, 2021
Cardiology
Reversing the Heart Damage Seen in Marfan Syndrome
MAY 12, 2021
Reversing the Heart Damage Seen in Marfan Syndrome
Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that disrupts the connective tissues that anchor and link the body's organs, affec ...
MAY 20, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Mitochondrial DNA May be Affecting More Traits Than we Knew
MAY 20, 2021
Mitochondrial DNA May be Affecting More Traits Than we Knew
While the vast majority of our genes are in the genome that's held in the nuclei of cells, mitochondria are also known t ...
MAY 24, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Animal Trial of Asthma Vaccine Has Positive Results
MAY 24, 2021
Animal Trial of Asthma Vaccine Has Positive Results
Asthma is thought to affect 340 million people. A type of asthma that happens when allergens like dust mites are inhaled ...
JUN 02, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
A Genetic Form of ALS is Discovered
JUN 02, 2021
A Genetic Form of ALS is Discovered
Some medical mysteries have become much easier to solve because of advanced genetic techniques that have enabled researc ...
JUN 14, 2021
Microbiology
Researchers Identify a Novel, Beneficial Bacterium
JUN 14, 2021
Researchers Identify a Novel, Beneficial Bacterium
Since researchers were able to use genetic technologies to reveal how important the gut microbiome is to human health, t ...
Loading Comments...