Common painkiller ibuprofen and similar drugs could be used as part of cancer treatment, new research suggests.
A team at the University of Bath studied the way ibuprofen and other profens – a particular group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – interact with a key protein that fuels the growth of many different types of cancer .
They discovered that they are all processed by the body through a protein called AMACR, which converts the drug into its active form.
AMACR is overactive in almost all prostate cancers, some bowel cancers and several other types of cancer and is thought to fuel the growth of the disease by boosting the cell’s energy supply.
Previous studies have suggested that high doses of ibuprofen can halt the growth of prostate cancer cells, but the reasons for this are not well understood.
“Understanding more about how this protein is acting in cells and what molecules it interacts with could provide important clues to how this process works, hopefully opening up new avenues of research for treating prostate cancer in the future,” said the study’s lead author Dr Matthew Lloyd.
The study was published in the journal Chemical Communications.

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