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Ibuprofen Fights Cancer?

Anti-inflammatory drug might stop certain cancers from developing (September 26)

Ibuprofen –– a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) –– is one of the most commonly taken nonprescription medications along with paracetamol and aspirin, and there is evidence to suggest that long-term users could be protected against prostate cancer, some colon cancers, and several other cancers as well.

Unlike many drugs, ibuprofen can exist in two different forms, known as R– and S–. Only the S– form has anti-inflammatory properties, whereas the R– form is inactive. However, the body can convert R– ibuprofen into S– ibuprofen through a process known as chiral inversion –– something scientists believe may have benefits in fighting cancer.

This is because the enzyme that performs chiral inversion, alpha-methylacyl-CoA racemase (AMACR), has increased levels in prostate cancer, some colon cancers, and several other cancers. New research from the University of Bath in the U.K. hypothesizes that the body’s processing of ibuprofen reduces the normal activity of the AMACR enzyme, which in turn could stop cancer from developing.

Commenting on the findings, investigator Dr. Matthew Lloyd said: “The chiral inversion behavior of ibuprofen in humans has been known since at least the 1970s. However, it is not until now that the specific proteins that perform the various steps have been identified.

“This study focuses on the final enzyme that produces active ibuprofen, which fights cancer by targeting cyclooxygenase [COX] enzymes. It will also help us understand how ibuprofen fights cancer by targeting AMACR.”

[Source: University of Bath; September 26, 2013]

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