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Landmark NIHR trial investigating if statins can treat MS begins recruitment

Date: 13 September 2018

The biggest ever trial for secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) in the UK has begun recruitment.

The MS-STAT2, which is co-funded by the NIHR, is recruiting at 30 sites across the UK and Ireland and will involve 1,180 people with SPMS – a form of the condition that currently has little effective treatment.

The Phase 3 trial is investigating whether the statin simvastatin – currently used as a cheap cholesterol lowering drug - could become a treatment for the condition, offering hope to thousands.

MS affects over 100,000 people in the UK, and most expect to develop a progressive form of the condition. It causes problems with how people walk, move, see, think, and feel.

Positive results from a smaller trial showed simvastatin could improve levels of disability and slow disease progression. It also reduced the rate of brain atrophy (shrinkage), suggesting the treatment could protect nerves from damage in SPMS.

The trial is being co-funded by NIHR in collaboration with the MS Society (UK), the National MS Society (US), the NHS and UK universities.

It is supported by the UCLH NIHR Biomedical Research Centre and also supported by the Neurological Disorders specialty within the NIHR Clinical Research Network.

Recruitment runs until the end of 2019 and includes sites in London, Sheffield, Leeds, Edinburgh, Poole, Glasgow, Belfast, Dublin, Nottingham, Cambridge, Manchester, Cardiff and Exeter.

Dr Jeremy Chataway, UCL Institute of Neurology, who is leading the trial, said: “Simvastatin is a very promising treatment prospects for secondary progressive MS in our lifetime. People with this form of the condition have been waiting decades for a drug that works, which is why there’s such excitement around being able to start the trial. While it’s still early days, we believe simvastatin could change lives.”

If you have secondary progressive MS and would like to be considered to participate in MS-STAT2, you can register your interest online.

For more information on the trial see the project page.

  • Summary:
    The biggest ever trial for secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) in the UK has begun recruitment.
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