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Researcher working

Behind the scenes of the new simvastatin trial

Lynn Duffy

Last year we secured funding for a phase 3 trial of simvastatin, a drug for people with secondary progressive MS.

Now that the trial’s begun recruiting we quizzed Research Manager Marie Braisher on its inner workings.

Firstly Marie, how does it feel that the MS-STAT2 trial has started?

It’s an unbelievable buzz. The MS-STAT2 trial is a huge undertaking and it’s brilliant to see it becoming a reality.

What is your role in the trial?

I’m a Research Manager at the Queen Square MS group. I’m one of the people working behind the scenes to pull it together. From securing funding to recruitment, all the way to the running of the trial – I’ve been a part of the team from the start.

I absolutely love my job and the people I work with. They’re really willing to go the extra mile.

How long did the trial take to plan?

We started thinking about this trial almost immediately after the phase 2 trial finished in 2014. There was a huge desire to move forward, so we had to get going as quickly as possible.

How many people are involved in the running of the trial?

A lot! The trial team involves neurologists, specialist nurses, pharmacists, lab technicians and MRI specialists. There are also people working in the trial units to analyse data and handle the trial admin. We’re a big team – but we have to be. There will be 1,180 people with secondary progressive MS taking part at almost 30 trial sites across the UK.

When will the trial be finished?

It’s a 6 year trial. We’ve started recruitment and the first patients started treatment recently. We’re aiming to have results in 2023.

Finally, what do you find most exciting about the trial?

The great thing about this trial is that if simvastatin works it can start to be used more quickly than other treatments. Because it’s already out there.

It’s fantastic to finally see progress being made for people with progressive MS.

If you have secondary progressive MS and would like to be considered to take part in MS-STAT2, you can register your interest on the University College London (UCL) website.