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Researchers are currently studying the possible anticancer effects of aspirin. Aspirin blocks cyclooxygenase (COX), which helps restrict the blood supply to tumors, thereby limiting tumor growth. The studies of aspirin involved exposing blood vessel cells to aspirin or COX-2 inhibitors like celecoxib. Aspirin at high doses caused death of the blood vessel cells. This effect was not seen with standard doses of aspirin or with COX-2 inhibitors. Investigators plan to continue studying the underlying mechanism of aspirin's effect in order to identify new targets for cancer drugs.
Dr. Garrett is a clinical pharmacist practitioner at Cornerstone Health Care in High Point, NC.