Research NewsBiomedicine

Building a Better Aspirin

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Science  22 May 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5367, pp. 1191-1192
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5367.1191

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The beneficial effects of aspirin and its cousins, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, come from their ability to block an enzyme, called cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), that promotes inflammation, pain, and fevers. Unfortunately, the drugs are even more effective at inhibiting COX-1, a related enzyme essential for the health of the stomach and kidneys. Now two compounds that selectively inhibit COX-2 may be in drugstores within the next year, and a new wave of COX-2 inhibitors that could eventually be even more potent is also taking shape (see Report on p. 1268).