The scientists responsible for first trials of low-dose daily aspirin to prevent coronary and cerebrovascular events have been recognised with the International Aspirin Foundation’s Senior Science Award 2020.
Professors Lars Wallentin, Jan van Gijn, Bo Norrving and Tom Meade led four pivotal trials across Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK in the 1980s. Together, these trials – the Research Group on Instability in Coronary Artery Disease (RISC study), the Dutch TIA Trial, the Swedish Aspirin Low-dose Trial (SALT) and the Thrombosis Prevention Trial (TPT) – changed scientific understanding of the effectiveness and tolerability of low-dose aspirin as an antiplatelet agent and helped establish low-dose aspirin as a mainstay of antithrombotic therapy in the treatment of heart attack and stroke.
The group’s work began at a time when the role of thrombosis in cardiovascular events was known but it was not clear how best to prevent it while maintaining acceptable bleeding risks. Higher doses of aspirin had shown promise in preventing clots but at the expense of gastrointestinal toxicity, and although there was an emerging hypothesis that a low dose might be more effective, the field was still influenced by alternative thinking. As such, it took intellectual courage and scientific insight to design the trials which ultimately contributed to the prevention of countless coronary and cardiovascular events worldwide.
Professor Carlo Patrono, Chair of the International Aspirin Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board said:
“We are delighted to recognise this group of international investigators. Lessons from their pioneering work have influenced the design of subsequent trials in other clinical settings and have contributed to establishing low-dose aspirin as a novel paradigm of antithrombotic therapy in both the cardiological and neurological fields.”
The Award Ceremony will take place in London later this year subject to the constraints of the global pandemic.
For further details contact Pippa Hutchison, Executive Director, International Aspirin Foundation