MS-SMART: Putting in the ground work for a groundbreaking trial

It’s an exciting time for progressive MS research: a historic clinical trial, MS-SMART, will test 3 different drugs at once in people with secondary progressive MS. (And you can help fund it – find out how.)

MS-SMART has only been possible because of years of work and planning by the MS Society and a special group of scientists.

Changing the research agenda

Although we’ve seen major advances in diagnosis and treatments over the past years, there are currently no treatments that can slow or stop progression in people with progressive MS.

To change this, we set up and funded the UK MS Clinical Trials Network (the CTN) in 2007. It is made up of leading neurologists, scientists and experts in clinical trial design.

They were tasked with planning, developing and conducting a phase 2 clinical trial for progressive MS.

Developing a trial for progressive MS

The group commissioned and carried out 4 projects (worth around £500,000) that were needed to help inform the design and development of the MS-SMART trial.

Through the extensive work of the CTN, a number of drugs were established as having the potential to be 'neuroprotective'. This means they could prevent nerve cells from further damage, which could slow or even halt the progression of MS.

The group are now widening their scope to support clinical trials in the UK for both progression and symptom management.

Making MS-SMART happen

Large clinical trials are really expensive - this trial is costing nearly £2.7 million in total. We couldn’t fund it all by ourselves.

But we had a good plan for the trial, so with the CTN we applied to a competitive funding scheme run by the government. We were delighted that our bid was accepted and MS-SMART could get off the ground!

How you can help

It’s amazing to think that since 1956 the MS Society has invested a total of £148 million (in today’s money) into research, and almost every penny of this has come from donations.

As we are co-funding the MS-SMART trial, we need your donations to help us make history and to find answers for people with progressive MS.

Find out more about why MS-SMART is so important in our interview with Dr Jeremy Chataway, co-leader of the trial - watch the video below.

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