Changes in the human diet mean people today are more at risk of developing stomach cancer than their ancestors, scientists have said.Researchers at the University of Newcastle believe that changes to the way food is grown and produced have robbed it off its anti-cancer agents.
The researchers are working on a study which indicates that Aspirin may be effective in fighting stomach cancer. They are carrying out two trials on people with a predisposition to developing the disease. Initial results show that salicylates, the active ingredient in Aspirin, is proving effective. All green plants generate salicylates as part of a natural defence mechanism.
This means that when a leaf or other part of the plant is infected, it generates salicylates which in turn localises the infection and ensures that it does not affect the rest of the plant.The researchers believe that modern farming methods mean that plants with "infections" do not get through the food chain and, as a result, human levels of salicylates can be quite low.