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Hundreds of Irish patients to take part in five-year trial to see if aspirin can stop cancer from returning

Hundreds of Irish volunteers are to take part in a new trial to investigate if aspirin can prevent early-stage cancer returning after treatment.

Three hundred patients in Ireland who have had or have started treatment for early-stage breast, stomach, oesophagus, colon, rectum or prostate cancer will join the trial.

Researchers are investigating whether taking aspirin daily for five years after receiving standard cancer treatments can stop early-stage cancer coming back.

People will be recruited over three to six years, and will self-administer tablets daily for at least five years.

They will then be actively followed up for 10 more years after treatment.

Pictured at the launch of the trial are (left to right) Professor Bryan Hennessy; Cancer Trial Ireland Clinical Lead and Consultant Medical Oncologist at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Emma Corcoran (cancer trials patient advocate), Dr Janice Walshe (Consultant Medical Oncologist at St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, and Dr Greg Leonard; Chief Investigator for the Add Aspirin trial in Ireland, Consultant Medical Oncologist, Galway University Hospital. Pic: Andres Poveda

It comes following studies on the effect of aspirin on heart disease, which have found that the common drug could decrease the risk of developing some types of cancer.

The international trial will also involve experts from the UK and India, and will have around 11,000 participants from across the three countries.

Efforts are being coordinated here by the Cancer Trials Ireland group, which is supported by the Irish Cancer Society and Health Research Board.

The trials will take place in hospitals in Dublin, Cork, Sligo, Limerick and Galway.

Dr Gregory Leonard - Consultant Medical Oncology at Galway University Hospital - is the chief investigator for the double-blind, placebo-controlled and randomised trial here in Ireland.

Dr Leonard explained: “At a time when we are used to new cancer treatments being relatively costly, the possibility of repurposing an inexpensive, generic drug that is available worldwide to stop or slow cancer is potentially ground-breaking.

[quote]“The results of this trial could have a huge impact on the global cancer burden, particularly given the increasing cancer incidence in lower resource countries."[/quote]

The trial is being led by Prof. Ruth Langley, who is based at University College London.