Aspirin, that everyday drug that most of us take when we get headaches, is going to be part of the largest clinical trial in the UK. The reason: to find out if it can prevent cancers from returning.
Add-Aspirin will be examining over 11,000 cancer patients in the course of twelve years in over a hundred medical centers across the United Kingdom.
Aspirin on Trial
Previous studies, as well as observations from many researchers and scientists, have long suggested that aspirin may be instrumental in preventing certain cancers from coming back. The information, however, was found inconclusive at best. Since then, fierce debates about the drug’s anti-cancer properties have taken the medical world by storm.
Scientists that will be leading the trial hope to establish once and for all if taking a daily dose of aspirin can delay or even stop cancers, specifically the ones that can be treated from an early stage, and prevent them from returning. The ‘trial’ will involve comparing two groups of people taking different doses of aspirin, either 300mg or 100mg, every day for five years, along with another group that will be taking a placebo.
The trial is being funded by Cancer Research UK, the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL, as well as the National Institute for Health Research.
The Need for Actual Proof
Ruth Langley, the chief investigator at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit, said, “There’s been some interesting research suggesting that aspiring could delay or stop early-state cancers coming back, but there’s been no randomized trial to give clear proof.”
“If we find that aspirin does stop these cancers from returning,” Langley added, “it could change future treatment – providing a cheap and simple way to help stop cancer from coming back and helping more people survive.”
Although the study will take a look at the effectiveness and possible anti-cancer properties of aspirin, she warns that people should test it out for themselves. She explains, “Unless you are on the trial, it’s important not to start taking aspirin until we have the full results, as aspirin isn’t suitable for everyone, and it can have serious effects.”
She encourages people who are interested to undergo the study to contact their local research nurse or oncologist.
Aspirin has long been known to help prevent strokes and heart attacks, and archival research seems to suggest that it can actually prevent certain types of cancers. Despite this, taking aspirin every day can also have debilitating side-effects, such as ulcers and stomach bleeding. The trial will settle the case if aspirin is potentially a universal anti-cancer control pill, or if previous cases were only coincidental.