Researchers in Manchester, UK are leading the first clinical trial to test whether aspirin can help treat an aggressive form of breast cancer.
The cheap and widely-available drug is being trialled as part of a potential new treatment by the researchers who hope aspirin could work well when combined with immunotherapy for patients with triple negative breast cancer.
The trial, funded by the Breast Cancer Now Catalyst Programme, aims to speed up progress in research through innovation and collaboration.
It is the first clinical study meant to test if aspirin can make tumours more sensitive to immunotherapy in patients.
The research, led by Dr Anne Armstrong from the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester, will trial the drug avelumab both with and without aspirin before patients receive surgery and chemotherapy treatment.
Successful results could lead to further clinical trials of aspirin and avelumab for incurable secondary triple negative breast cancer, which happens when cancer cells that started in the breast spread to other parts of the body.
Triple negative breast cancer is a less common but often more aggressive type of breast cancer that disproportionately affects younger women and black women.
Announcing the trial on Tuesday, August 17, Dr Armstrong, a consultant medical oncologist and honorary senior lecturer at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our earlier research has suggested that aspirin can make certain types of immunotherapy more effective by preventing the cancer from making substances that weaken the immune response.
“Anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin could hold the key to increasing the effectiveness of immunotherapy when used at the same time.
“Trialling the use of a drug like aspirin is exciting because it is so widely available and inexpensive to produce.
“We hope our trial will show that, when combined with immunotherapy, aspirin can enhance its effects and may ultimately provide a safe new way to treat breast cancer.”