A landmark worldwide research trial on the role of aspirin in bowel cancer treatment has opened its Australian-New Zealand arm by taking on its first patient-subject – in Orange, NSW.
The ASCOLT trial is the first clinical research trial conducted at Orange Health Service in the Western NSW Local Health District by the Australasian Gastro-Intestinal Research Trials Group (AGITG). The patient-subject in Orange is the first person from Australia or New Zealand to be to be officially signed on to take part in the trial.
ASCOLT is an international collaborative trial investigating the effectiveness of low-dose aspirin on improving survival in patients with resected Stage III (Dukes C) and high risk Stage II (Dukes B) colorectal (bowel) cancer. Five-year survival rates for these cancers range from 50-80%, so progress is needed.
Aspirin’s role in cancer is one of the most prominent questions in current cancer research. Low doses of aspirin have recently been found by a UK study to reduce the risk of several gastro-intestinal cancers when used over ten years.
ASCOLT is the first prospective study to evaluate aspirin’s use as a treatment in established cancers, and is tipped as one of the most important current cancer studies globally.
The trial is an international collaboration led by researchers in Singapore, UK and Australia.
A total of 200 eligible patients from more than twenty sites across Australia and New Zealand will receive three years of treatment with either aspirin or placebo, followed by two years’ post-treatment follow-up.
Leading the trial at Orange Health Service is Medical Oncologist Dr Rob Zielinski (pictured), who says “the people of Central West NSW are eager participants in efforts to find better cancer treatments.
“This significant trial proves that regional cancer trial units can be extremely valuable members of the global research network. ASCOLT will serve as the critical stepping-stone for our region to open more practice-changing clinical trials that will benefit the global cancer community.
“We thank AGITG for selecting Orange as a patient recruitment centre.”
The non-profit AGITG has been conducting clinical research trials in Australia and New Zealand for over 23 years, assisted by funding raised from public donations by the GI Cancer Institute.
ASCOLT is funded through the Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme and co-funded by Bowel Cancer Australia and Cancer Australia.