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Can metformin and clemastine repair myelin in people with MS?

Image of a mouse brain showing myelin (gold) running through the brain
Lead researcher:
Professor Alasdair Coles
Based at:
University of Cambridge
MS Society funding:

To stop MS we need to find treatments that repair myelin, the protective coating around nerve fibres which is damaged in MS.

This new phase 2a trial will test whether a combination of the drugs metformin and clemastine can help the brain regenerate myelin in people with MS.

What happens in this project?

This trial will involve 50 people with relapsing MS who are taking a disease modifying therapy (DMT). Participants will be recruited from Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

Participants in the trial will be given either a combination of metformin and clemastine or a placebo (dummy drug) alongside their DMT. Researchers will be testing to see whether metformin and clemastine are able to promote myelin repair in people with MS.

How will it help people with MS?

To stop MS, we need treatments that prevent immune attacks on myelin, promote myelin repair and protect nerves from damage. Currently, there are no treatments available that can repair myelin in people with MS.

Previous research we've funded shows that metformin and clemastine are able to work together to successfully repair the damage caused by MS in rats. Now, we want to know whether this also occurs in people with MS.

Metformin is used to treat type 2 diabetes, and clemastine is used to treat hayfever. So we already understand their side effects. If effective, they could be a safe and low-cost treatment option for people with MS.

And if we are able to repair myelin in people with MS, we will be one step closer to slowing and stopping MS.

The difference you can make

The race is on to find therapies that will slow or even stop disability progression in MS. You can help speed up the process by supporting projects like this.

Donate now to stop MS