Promising Results, With No Stomach Upset

Patients who require the benefits of aspirin without the accompanying stomach irritation are a step closer to comfort and cures with the signing of an exclusive licensing agreement. Dr. Shengmin Sang, a food scientist with North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, licensed his patent for a family of novel aspirin-derived compounds to SARISA Therapeutics, an Invenshure Company out of Minneapolis, Minn. Sang’s patented compounds may be useful in treating or preventing colon cancer, heart disease and other disorders. Through this commercialization effort, more patients may be able to receive the benefits of aspirin without incurring adverse side effects.

Sang Commercializes Novel Aspirin Derivatives

“The timing of this agreement couldn’t be better for patients,” explains SARISA Therapeutics CEO Danny Cunagin. “Last April, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force added colon cancer to the list of diseases for which aspirin should be prescribed as a preventive treatment. We aim to make Dr. Sang’s discoveries available to all patients who need aspirin’s therapeutic usefulness minus its gastric irritation side effects.”

Dr. Sang, a professor and lead scientist for functional foods in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, developed the new compounds at N.C. A&T’s Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies. “It is gratifying when our hard work is proven capable of improving people’s lives,” said Sang. “Our discoveries could be helpful in treating anything for which aspirin is recommended for treatment or prevention. Through our research we have found it to be less toxic to the stomach than regular aspirin.”

Tests on colon cancer cell lines showed that Sang’s novel compounds, containing both aspirin and bioactive phytochemicals, were more effective at inducing cancer cell death than any of the individual components used alone or physically mixed. Sang describes his findings in the studies, “Novel Resveratrol-based Aspirin Prodrugs: Synthesis, Metabolism and Anticancer Activity,” published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, and “Gastroprotective [6]-Gingerol Aspirinate as a Novel Chemopreventive Prodrug of Aspirin for Colon Cancer,” published in Scientific Reports. Funding for this, and other studies that gave rise to his patent and this commercialization agreement, came from the National Institutes of Health and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.