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A NOSH-aspirin a day may just help keep cancer away


March 11, 2012

Adding two new chemical groups to regular aspirin (pictured) results in NOSH-aspirin that shrinks tumors and curbs cancer cell growth (Photo: Shutterstock)

Adding two new chemical groups to regular aspirin (pictured) results in NOSH-aspirin that shrinks tumors and curbs cancer cell growth (Photo: Shutterstock)

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What began as an effort to make aspirin safer for regular use may have resulted in a powerful new weapon in the fight against cancer. Scientists from The City College of New York (CCNY) have developed a new aspirin compound that is safer than the classic medicine cabinet staple, but also exhibits greatly enhanced anticancer properties.

The new designer aspirin curbed the growth of 11 different types of human cancer cells in culture without harming normal cells, reported a team from the City College of New York. The cancers controlled included colon, pancreatic, lung, prostate, breast, and leukemia. The aspirin compound also shrank human colon cancer tumors by 85 percent in live animals, again without adverse effects.

In recent years, aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen have been adding important clinical uses to their traditional role as minor painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. For example, their role in prevention of heart attack and stroke is now well-established.

More recent studies have demonstrated that NSAIDs have a remarkable ability to inhibit the growth of cancer. It appears that regular use of aspirin (such as the recommended 83 mg/day prophylactic dose for heart attack) reduces the risk of colon cancer by about half. Unfortunately, using NSAIDs as a treatment for cancer requires much larger doses, which carry with them side effects ranging from bleeding ulcers to kidney failure.

In an effort to create a safer aspirin, the CCNY team preserved the aspirin chemical structure, but added to it two new chemical groups. One of these groups releases nitric oxide (NO), which helps protect the stomach lining, while the other releases hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which increases aspirin's cancer-fighting effects. NO plus H2S leads to NOSH-aspirin.

The researchers suspected that this hybrid structure would be more effective than either of the two components alone in boosting aspirin's safety and power against cancer. They were right.

72 hours after applying the NOSH-aspirin to a culture of colon cancer cells, it proved to be 250,000 times more effective in suppressing cancer cell growth than conventional aspirin. NOSH-aspirin proved to be 15,000 times more effective than NO-aspirin, and 80 times more effective than H2S-aspirin. It appears that the NOSH-aspirin may be effective at doses small enough that side effects will not be of concern.

This remarkable effectiveness against cancer cells provides strong motivation for development of new cancer drugs which also share this extreme potency. Development and obtaining FDA approval of such a drug is probably a decade or more away, but development of the NOSH-aspirin (and other recent developments) should join a major revolution in cancer treatment which is only now beginning to emerge.

Source: City College of New York

About the Author
Brian Dodson From an early age Brian wanted to become a scientist. He did, earning a Ph.D. in physics and embarking on an R&D career which has recently broken the 40th anniversary. What he didn't expect was that along the way he would become a patent agent, a rocket scientist, a gourmet cook, a biotech entrepreneur, an opera tenor and a science writer. All articles by Brian Dodson

@ rutnerh: "The aspirin compound also shrank human colon cancer tumors by 85 percent in live animals, again without adverse effects."

This seems hopeful for in vivo results...

David Bell

"Development and obtaining FDA approval of such a drug is probably a decade or more away,"

That is the worst part. I'm constantly reading about new methods of killing cancer, or killing obesity, or increasing your muscle mass without working out, eradicating tumors, the list goes on & on, but FDA approval takes a freaking eternity!

Derek Howe

As someone that already takes low-dose aspirin as a prophylactic, this to be wonderful news about NSAIDs with vastly improved anti-cancer properties. I hope these drug companys get these products to the market quickly despite the FDA road-blocks and red-tape.


My mother has just been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, she will probably die before this new drug is FDA approved. How many more people is the Gestapo FDA is going to kill in the name of profit!

Philippe Rockholt

This is such a simple compound to synthesize that I am sure clinics in Mexico will spring up long before it ever meets FDA approval.. There is a remote possibility that because it's based on ASA, they could "fast track" it.. Sure..


Ten years is simply inexcusable. There should at least be legal provisions to allow accelerated use for people already suffering from cancer and projected to die.


"How many more people is the Gestapo FDA is going to kill in the name of profit!" Are you serious? Organizations like the FDA actually restrain the companies that would profit most of selling untested crap to desperate people at premium prizes.

10 years ago there were already such wonder-drugs against cancer. And 10 years before and 10 before that. And how many reliable therapies do we have now? Right.

When some enthusiastic scientists come up with a sensational therapy, you'll read it in a hundred magazines. But if in ten subsequent studies no one could proof their results in unbiased conditions you read it in maybe 2 or 3 publications.

The scientific standard in medical publications is horrible. Few seem to know the mathematical basics to perform conclusive studies and to many of those who do, use their knowledge to obscure the facts.


If true, it will be available via Mexico and Europe and Canada LONG before the USA.

If we weren't such a litiginous society or a government in the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry, we wouldn't have these long FDA approval processes.

Matt Rings

The problem with the FDA is that it is seriously "in the pocket" of Big Pharma. Look at Aspertame............twice it was rejected but finally 'allowed' to be marketed as a "safe" alternative to sugar.................now, after it has been on the market for 20 years, it has been found to be anything BUT 'safe' pheylketoneuria; creation of formaldehyde under certain conditions; tested to have negative effects upon vital organs, etc. The research has been there all along but is NOW being looked at with some seriousness AFTER it has been on the shelves for years..... look at Thalidamide back in the 70(?) and the birt defects it caused..............just look at the number of Class Action Lawsuits being lodged against Big Pharma for drugs the FDA has "approved" recently! Im not saying that they don't do anything to'protect' us,,,,but they surely need some Overseeing!

William Gray

Very surprised to hear of the 'positive effects' of hydrogen sulphide considering how it eats through concrete sewer pipes.


This super aspirin may be highly effective in tissue culture but will probably not survive intact either orally in the stomach or intravenous in blood due to low water solubility and instability just like aspirin which loses its acetyl group quite easily. That would mean losing the nitrate group and leave only the sulfide source. Probably will require some structural tweaking to increase solubility via hydrophilic not the currently used hydrophobic linkers.


re; William E. Gray

While the effect of Thalidomide on the offspring of pregnant women is too terrible too risk lightly it should not have been banned because it is the safest and most effective treatment foe some conditions.


Nothing short of a revolution by the people of this nation, against an inhuman and inflexible medical status quo, can bring healthy change. What is not done for profit, is done to satisfy the dictatorial demands and self interest of the FDA. The FDA exists to grant the wishes of desperately sick Americans. There must be cases where the patient is allowed to decide for himself, and face the consequences of, whether to experiment with new, and not thoroughly tested, experimental methods and drugs, when the patient is facing a life and death situation. It's not as if a day doesn't goes by in this country, that another medication which has been certified for public use, turns out to be dangerous or lethal. We face these outcomes, as it is. Why can't the pubic be allowed to try out therapies, however experimental, when other approaches give no, or little, benefit, as long as there has been short term, but expert medical oversight. Let the adequately informed public take responsibiity for their health. Let's search for a middle ground in this matter of adequately testing and researching medications.


Hello, i am from Romania.My father has just been diagnosedwith stage 3 colon cancer. I want this aspirine(NOSH-aspirin). We haven't nothing to lose. We want to try this medicine.Please help us. Please.

Laura Bogovici

I guess H2S only kills you when inhaled? Its one of the few compounds I screen for before entering confined spaces. I suppose the minute levels in this product are less toxic.


Many people will suffer and die while the FDA takes it's sweet time approving a drug.

FDA is a typical big government department with lots of unionized staff wasting most of their time complaining about how hard they work.

It's a disgrace and it's disgusting.


@Laura Hydrogen Sulfide is produced naturally by the body as a by-product of various metabolic processes. Because it is one of our own natural waste products, the body has enzymes that are specifically designed to protect us from it's bad effects, provided it stays under a threshold concentration (which varies for each person depending on how much of those enzymes their body produces). Since this drug appears to be effective in small doses, it shouldn't require significantly elevating the H2S level in the blood. Hopefully, it's effectiveness and safety will be confirmed by other studies.

Harry Gebel

Yes, the body makes use of all kinds of dangerous compounds and elements in small amounts. Their power is exploited, instead of "resisted".

Brian H
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