Using MRI to investigate simvastatin in secondary progressive MS

Neurologist examining an MRI scan

Dr Jeremy Chataway

UCL Institute of Neurology

£309, 345

About the project

Simvastatin is being tested as a potential treatment for secondary progressive MS. The drug showed promise in earlier clinical trials, reducing the rate of brain shrinkage by 43%, compared with placebo. This research is now being taken forward into a larger phase 3 trial, MS-STAT2, which began in 2017.

In a sub-study of MS-STAT2, the team want to use MRI to try and find ways to improve the efficiency of clinical trials, and to help us understand more about the biology of progressive MS.

Our researchers will recruit 240 people, who are also taking part in MS-STAT2. The volunteers will have MRI scans at the beginning of the study, with additional scans after one, two and three years.

These scans will be analysed to confirm whether brain shrinkage is an effective way of measuring if a drug is working in progressive MS. The team will also look at other MRI findings to see if any can give us a quicker idea of whether a clinical trial has been successful or not.

Finally, it’s hoped the MRI findings will help us to understand more about how simvastatin works in secondary progressive MS.

How will it help people with MS?

If successful, this project could help us to determine the best way to test the benefits of drugs in progressive MS trials.

The research will also help us to understand how simvastatin works, as well as giving us a great insight into the biology of secondary progressive MS. This could open the door to new treatment avenues.

The difference you can make

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

Read about the phase 3 trial to test if simvastatin could become a treatment for secondary progressive MS by clicking this link.


The next research breakthrough is in reach

Your donation will help stop MS.

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£30could process one blood sample, giving researchers crucial information about genes and the immune system.

£50could pay for an hour on a microscope, so scientists can study cells and tissue in greater detail and improve their understanding of the biology of MS.

£100could pay for half an hour of MRI use, so researchers can monitor the success of clinical trials and understand MS in more detail.

Every penny you give really does take us a step closer to stopping MS. Your donation will make a difference.

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£10a month could pay for lab equipment like microscope slides to study the building blocks of MS

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MS researcher at work in lab, using a pipette