- Lead researcher:
- Professor Jeremy Chataway & Professor Mahesh Parmar
- Based at:
- University College London
- MS Society funding:
- £12.9 million
We’re proud to fund the first ever multi-arm, multi-stage trial for progressive MS.
Octopus is a revolutionary trial that will transform the way we test treatments for progressive MS. A smarter way of testing potential treatments, it could deliver life-changing new treatments up to three times faster.
And the first few people with primary and secondary progressive MS are taking part at University College London Hospital. This is the only site currently open. But there will eventually be up to 30 sites around the UK, including in:
- Northern Ireland
- the West Midlands
- the South of England.
When you register, you’ll be asked where you live. This is so the closest trial sites can contact you when they start recruiting. For most people, this won’t happen for quite a while. And this is because trial sites are still getting set up and over 900 people have already registered their interest.
We won’t know if these drugs slow disability progression until 2028 at the earliest. This is because Octopus is combining what would normally be two separate trials into one. In the meantime, we’ll be watching out for the results of other exciting trials for progressive MS, including MS-STAT2 and ChariotMS.
How does Octopus work?
Octopus uses what’s called a multi-arm, multi-stage (MAMS) design – the first time this has even been done in MS.
MAMS trials make it possible to test new treatments up to three times faster by:
- Testing multiple drugs at once – and comparing them with a single control group.
- Using MRI to get an idea of whether a drug looks like it has potential, many months before we’d be able to see an effect of the drug on disability progression. Promising-looking drugs stay in the trial, with hundreds more people joining the existing participants. So what would normally be two consecutive trials are delivered in one.
- Adding the flexibility to drop drugs that don’t look promising, and slot in new drugs as they’re discovered.
Merging separate trials may sound obvious. But launching a MAMS trial for MS needs so many things to line up perfectly. From hospitals around the country equipped to be trial sites, to the incredibly complicated statistics that underpin the design.
How can you support Octopus?
Your support could help us find treatments for everyone with MS.
Will you donate to support vital MS research?