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£5.6 Million Award for Clinical Trial to Reduce Risk of Cancer in People with PSC

£5.6 million award for clinical trial to reduce risk of cancer in people with PSC

Update 30 Jan 2024

Recruiting volunteers to take part

What is PSC?

PSC is a rare liver disease that affects around 3,600 people in the UK. In PSC, the body’s immune system attacks the liver, causing inflammation and scarring of the bile ducts.

PSC and Cancer

People with PSC also live with a higher risk of getting certain cancers (such as bile duct, gallbladder, liver or bowel cancer). Currently there is no treatment to slow down the disease or reduce the chances of getting cancer. A recent survey by PSC Support found that 90% of people living with the disease felt it extremely important to reduce cancer risk and improve screening (84%).

Studies in other populations have shown that taking aspirin may reduce the risk of developing cancer in the bowel, bile duct and other areas. Whether aspirin helps people with PSC is not yet known.

Dr Simon Rushbrook said, “Due to the important work of PSC Support we know how pertinent this area of research is to people living with PSC and we must tackle it.”

£5.6 million pound clinical trial

We are delighted to announce that Cancer Research UK (CRUK) has awarded over £5million to Professor Shahid Khan (Imperial College London, Clinical Trials Unit/ Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust), Dr Simon Rushbrook (Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Trust/ UK-PSC) and Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia), Dr Palak Trivedi (NIHR Birmingham BRC/ University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust/ UK-PSC), Mr Hassan Malik (Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust/ BASO), Professor Ruth Langley (MRC Clinical Trials Unit at University College London, Clinical Chair of the UK Therapeutic Cancer Prevention Network), AMMF and PSC Support to carry out a clinical trial. This study will assess whether aspirin reduces the risk of getting cancer in people with PSC. The data collected will also be used to design future studies, which will help understand why certain people with PSC get cancer and not others.

The clinical trial will need to recruit nearly one thousand people with PSC and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Each person who takes part will either receive aspirin or a placebo tablet for five years. During this time, participants will have regular scans, give additional blood and urine samples, and complete questionnaires about how they feel every six months.

Low dose aspirin

This will allow the research team to see if people with both PSC and IBD who take a low dose of aspirin every day for five years live longer without cancer compared to taking an inactive, dummy drug (placebo) each day.

Professor Shahid Khan said, “Cancer Research UK have given people with PSC an opportunity to take part in this important study to search for novel ways to reduce cancer risk in PSC”.

The study is expected to start recruiting participants in early 2024 from hospitals around the UK. If you would like more information, please email Mark at