IT’S A WRAP FOR 2019!
While we’d say that all study-related news and events were important, the most significant was the welcomed mid-year announcement that the NIA (National Institute on Aging) in the US would be funding the follow-up ASPREE-XT (eXTension) study for a further five years.
Funding has ensured that our participants can continue to contribute health information to:
1) help determine long lasting effects of aspirin on health, such as on cancer, dementia and other aspects of ageing including frailty.
2) help identify the impact that medical conditions, lifestyle, the environment, genetics and other factors have on health and ageing.
ASPREE-XT builds on many millions of individual pieces of health data collected in the ASPREE trial. It fulfills a rare opportunity to investigate the effects of aspirin and other factors on quality of life and independence for older people. We are very grateful for the support of more than 15,000 ASPREE participants as we move into this next research phase. Download the ASPREE-XT brochure here.
Meanwhile, ASPREE-XT annual study visits continued across south eastern Australia. Members of our team regularly travelled interstate to conduct study visits. Our admin team were contacting participants to make visit bookings and to collect health data approximately six months between visits. More than 6000 retinal images were taken for the ASPREE-AMD (Age-related macular degeneration) sub-study in Victoria, the ACT and South Australia. The data and endpoint teams continually developed processes to streamline data collection, collation and reporting.
In April, we sent participants a summary of their journey in the ASPREE trial, resulting in wonderful feedback from recipients. We greatly appreciate participants taking the time and care to pass on their compliments throughout the year – much of it directed at the caring professionalism of our field and admin teams.
In other news, we rolled out the first study updates starting with seven events across Melbourne and Greater Melbourne and another two in Nowra and Wollongong late this year. More updates are scheduled for regional Victoria, Tasmania, Southern NSW, ACT and South Australia the first half of next year. Our team thoroughly enjoys the opportunity to meet up with participants and their guests at these presentations.
This year, the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association adopted ASPREE findings into their primary prevention aspirin guidelines, some six months after the ASPREE publications in NEJM. Investigators published several research papers in 2019, with more in the pipeline. They presented ASPREE findings nationally and at important international medical conferences, including the prestigious European Society of Cardiology Congress (ESC) and the Gerontological Society of America annual Scientific Meeting. View publications here.
ASPREE was the recipient of the inaugural Australian Clinical Trial of the Year for its significant contribution to the health of older people around the world. Executive Director, Associate Prof. Robyn Woods, accepted the award on behalf of ASPREE, acknowledging the contribution from ASPREE participants, GPs and the research team and support staff to the trial.
We thank the thousands of Australian GPs (and their practice staff) who continue to support their patients’ involvement in the ASPREE-XT study.
In team news, we farewelled colleagues and welcomed new members to the team. Four new ‘ASPring’ babies (two girls and two boys) in 2019 has brought the tally up to around 50 babies. We had one engagement, while Melbourne-based field team member Courtney, was our radiant bride this year.
On behalf of the entire ASPREE-XT team, we wish participants and their families, GPs and GP practice staff and the entire research community, a safe and festive season. We look forward to many new milestones in 2020.