While aspirin has been one of the true wonder drugs of modern medicine, its gastrointestinal toxicity led to the development of other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Finding a version of aspirin that provides its benefits without its toxicity could lead to a truly blockbuster drug.

"There's no perhaps to that - it will be," said Lawrence Marnett, professor of biochemistry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (Nashville, Tenn.).