Australian patients will play a crucial role in finding out if taking a daily low dose aspirin can prevent disease in healthy older people.
The Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) trial is the largest clinical trial ever conducted in Australia.
It is among $483 million in grants for health and medical research funding announced by Minister for Health and Aged Care Sussan Ley.
"We know that every dollar invested in medical research returns on average of more than $2 in benefits through reducing the burden of disease and driving productivity," she said.
Aspirin trial leader Professor John Zalcberg said there was considerable evidence that low dose aspirin prevents the development of cancer, particularly in the case of colorectal cancer.
"If we can determine whether aspirin can protect against the development of colorectal cancer in an aging population, and how it does so, this would have enormous public health benefits," he said.
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Could aspirin delay onset of diseases like dementia?
The ASPREE trial is a joint Australia-US collaboration involving 16,700 Australians aged 70 and over, and is being run by Monash University.
Another 2,500 participants are in the US.
Participants are randomly assigned to take either a low-dose aspirin tablet (100mg) or a matching placebo tablet for an average of five years.
The trial will determine whether daily low dose aspirin prevents or delays the onset of age-related illness such as cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke), dementia, depression and certain cancers and if the benefits outweigh the risks, such as bleeding.
How will the outcome of the trial change medical advice?
If aspirin is shown to be of overall benefit, millions of healthy older people around the world will be advised to take aspirin
If aspirin is shown not to be of benefit, then many older people will stop taking an unnecessary medication
Other projects funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council include:
Predicting the progressive phase of multiple sclerosis
Understanding the association between traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer's disease
Footwear for self-managing knee osteoarthritis symptoms
Understanding the health impacts of sleep apnoea in Australian men
Implementing population-based genetic testing for high-risk breast and ovarian cancer predisposition genes
Understanding the early disease mechanisms of motor neuron disease
NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso said the grants supported an extraordinary breadth of research in Australia.
Read more at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-03/aspirin-research-gets-multi-million-dollar-boost/8088684