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Expert Consortium for Progression in MS Clinical Trials

Doctor showing someone a web page on a laptop
Lead researcher:
Based at:
MS Society funding:
£325,709 to date

About the project

Currently there are no treatments for most people with progressive MS. We’re going to change that. But to do so as quickly as possible we need to run more and faster clinical trials of promising new treatments.

Our ambition is to set up a clinical trials platform that will speed up the development of treatments that can slow, and ultimately stop, MS. The platform will act as a ‘mega-trial’, joining up centres around the UK to test many different treatments at the same time. Researchers from around the UK - and eventually the rest of the world - will be able to include their most promising treatments in the trial. We also hope we’ll be able to switch people on the trial to new drugs if the ones they are on don’t look hopeful.

This has never been done before in MS. But our MS-SMART trial showed that it’s possible to successfully test multiple drugs at the same time for people with progressive MS. And our MS-STAT2 trial shows that the UK is uniquely placed to run faster and cheaper clinical trials that involve thousands of people with MS from every nation. To design and deliver the platform, the leading clinicians and scientists from across the UK have come together to form an Expert Consortium, made up of two teams.

One team is focussing on identifying the most promising treatments to go into the trial first. When it starts we expect many of these to be repurposed drugs – medicine already licensed as safe and effective for other conditions, that we think could also help in MS.

The second team is designing the actual trial and helping set up the infrastructure. Testing many drugs at the same time is complicated, but we also want each trial ‘arm’ to run faster. So finding new ways to measure whether a potential treatment is working earlier is important. And we need to make sure that we can join up as many clinics and hospitals across the UK as possible, so we can involve as many people with MS as possible.

The Expert Consortium is due to finish the design stage of its work in 2019, with the full Clinical Trials Platform being set up towards the end of the year.

How will it help people with MS?

People with MS have told us that finding treatments that will slow and stop disability progression in MS is their top priority. A clinical trials platform will help us achieve this more quickly and efficiently by testing more potential treatments faster and more cheaply.

The difference you can make

We want to stop MS. You can help us achieve that aim by supporting research like this – research that might, one day, lead to more effective and tailored treatments for people with MS.