Introducing Platypus – the Australian extension of our Octopus trial

Tuesday 28 November 2023

Caitlin Astbury

People with progressive MS in Australia will now have the chance to join Platypus – an extension of the Octopus trial. 

Speeding up clinical trials for progressive MS

There are now over a dozen licensed disease modifying therapies (DMTs) for people with relapsing MS, and some emerging for early active progressive MS. But to help people at every stage of MS, we need to stop MS from progressing.

Our Octopus trial began recruitment in the UK earlier this year. It’s testing whether two existing drugs (metformin and alpha lipoic acid) are able to slow or stop disability progression in MS. And its unique design means we can test potential treatments more efficiently. 

From Octopus to Platypus 

Now, an extension of our Octopus trial – named Platypus – will recruit up to 250 participants in Australia.

This approach to clinical trials has been transformative in other conditions like cancer. And has the potential to change the treatment landscape for people with progressive MS around the world. This is an exciting step towards achieving that vision.

We’re pleased that people with progressive MS in Australia will have the chance to join the trial.

Platypus is funded by MS Western Australia and MS Australia.

Dr Jacqui Hanley, our Joint Head of Research said: “Recruiting to Platypus at sites across Australia will speed up Octopus recruitment, making the trial run faster and helping us to get the answers sooner. And the significant financial contributions from MS Western Australia and MS Australia are key to making the trial more sustainable, help it to run for longer and test even more drugs.”

We’re delighted to realise this partnership with MS Australia to turn our world-first Octopus trial into an international study.
Dr Jacqui Hanley, our Joint Head of Research

How can people with MS take part? 

The Platypus trial will be open to people with progressive MS who live in Australia. 

People with progressive MS in the UK may be eligible to take part in Octopus. You can register your interest through the UK MS Register. 

When you register, you’ll be asked some questions about your MS. This is so the trial team can get an early idea of whether the trial might be right for you.

Another clinical trial we support, ChariotMS, is also currently open to participants with advanced progressive MS. They have trial sites around the country. To find out more about taking part, email the trial team at [email protected].