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Feist-Weiller Cancer Center in Shreveport seeks aspirin study patients

Kate Archer Kent

Feist-Weiller Cancer Center in Shreveport is recruiting patients for a study underway in the United States and Australia that will follow 19,000 people who are 65 and older to look at the risk and benefits of an aspirin-a-day regimen. The placebo-controlled clinical trial will look at whether there are potential benefits for the prevention of heart disease, certain cancers and even dementia. But are the known risks of gastrointestinal bleeding and stroke too great? Dr. Gary Burton, clinical research director at Feist-Weiller, said it’s time to find out.

“When looking at older populations -- like the minority population 65 and older, and the Caucasian population 70 and above -- there is very little data on whether aspirin is a good thing or bad thing," Burton said.

This trial is the largest one ever funded by the National Institute on Aging. It will follow patients for six years with an annual exam to assess memory and physical ability. Lori Panu, a certified clinical research coordinator at Feist-Weiller, said she needs to recruit 20 people for the study, but she expects to bring in many more.

“Being in this study can be very beneficial for the participants themselves because they are being followed for these cognitive and physical assessments every year that they might not normally be followed for," Panu said.

Panu said half of the patients will receive aspirin, the other half a placebo. No one knows who will get what. She said Feist-Weiller has about 50 ongoing studies, and this one is unique because it’s not specifically focused on cancer. Feist-Weiller was recruited into the trial, Panu said, because of its successful track record in reaching minority populations for clinical research.