Research NewsBiochemistry

Closing In on a Stomach-Sparing Aspirin Substitute

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Science  20 Sep 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5282, pp. 1660
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5282.1660


Chronic use of aspirin and other so-called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can cause stomach bleeding, kidney failure, or worse. The problem is that the compounds not only subdue a key enzyme involved in triggering inflammation and pain; they also stifle a nearly identical enzyme that helps maintain tissues such as the stomach lining. Now researchers at a number of drug companies are making progress toward “superaspirins”—compounds capable of discriminating between the twin enzymes, which would enable them to fight pain without causing dangerous side effects.