The largest clinical trial in the world is now open! And the Wales Cancer Bank is proud to be one of two biobanks in the UK hosting the biosamples donated as part of the trial.
The Add-Aspirin trial is aiming to recruit 11,000 patients to determine whether taking regular aspirin can stop some cancers returning. Over 100 centres in the UK will recruit patients who are having, or have recently had, treatment for early stage breast, bowel, prostate, stomach or oesphageal cancer. It will split the patients (randomly) into three groups; one taking a placebo, one taking a low dose of aspirin every day and the other taking a higher daily dose. Patients will take the aspirin for five years. The trial is being funded by Cancer Research UK and the National Institute for Health Research. The Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit (MRC CTU) is running the trial and Dr Ruth Langley is the Chief Investigator.
The Wales Cancer Bank was selected as one of the two tissue banks who will host the Add-Aspirin trial sample collection due to their extensive previous experience and successful work on large-scale, international, multi-centre clinical trials, as well as in routine sample collections, including a number of productive collaborations with the Medical Research Council, Velindre's Clinical Trials Unit and Cancer Research UK.
Dr Fay Cafferty, MRC CTU
When patients are recruited into the trial, they will also be asked if they would donate a tissue sample (from their previous surgery) and a blood sample. These samples will be stored and used for research. The Wales Cancer Bank (WCB) and the Tayside Tissue Bank will work closely with the MRC CTU to ensure the samples are collected from all the recruiting sites, stored and processed in the best way so that exciting future research on these samples is possible.
Two hospitals in Wales (Singleton and the University Hospital of Wales) are ready to start recruiting patients, with others to follow. But unless you are on the trial, it’s important not to start taking aspirin. Aspirin isn’t suitable for everyone, and it can have serious side effects. Talk to your oncologist to see if the Add-Aspirin trial is available at your hospital. The trial is expected to take up to 12 years and so it will be quite a while before results are known. But the possibilities are exciting - as an inexpensive drug with a potential therapeutic role in several common cancers, aspirin could have a huge impact on the global cancer burden.