#BehindTheTrials: the people finding out if a cholesterol drug can slow MS progression

Tue 03 November 2020

We’re talking a lot about clinical trials at the moment. You’ve probably heard us speaking about placebo drugs, outcome measures and licensing.

But ultimately trials are about people. The people who run them and the people who take part in them.

In our new series we’ll be meeting the people who make them happen.

To kick off, let’s meet some of the team behind MS-STAT2.

What is MS-STAT2?

MS-STAT2 is testing whether a cholesterol-lowering drug, simvastatin, can slow progression for people with secondary progressive MS. A phase 2 trial has already shown positive results.

Now they’re hoping to confirm those results with a phase 3 trial. And they’re well on their way - they completed recruitment in 2021

Andy dressed in his beefeater uniform

“I get a good MOT every six months” – Andy’s story

“Before working at the Tower of London, I did 25 years in the Royal Marines. For me, MS has been exhausting. When we’re giving our tours you’ve got to put on a bit of a performance, so I’m very tired at the end of the day. I also have foot drop so I’ve tripped over a lot - there’s a lot of cobbles at the Tower.

When my consultant mentioned MS -STAT2 of course I said yes. The way I look at it is, if it doesn’t help me it’s definitely going to help someone else. Plus I also get a good MOT every six months. A treatment for my MS would be incredible. I've led such an active and physical life and MS is slowly taking that away. To get some of that back would mean everything.”

Andy Merry, MS -STAT2 participant

Anisha sits at her computer at work

“I can offer my patients and their families real hope for the future” – Anisha’s story

“I was only two years old when my father was diagnosed with MS. His own MS progressed quickly but he always believed something would come along to stop MS for younger generations. And he was determined to make that happen. He took part in any trial he was eligible for.

It was that determination that motivated me to go to medical school. Working on the MS- STAT2 trial for the last few years has been a privilege. I feel very lucky I'm working as a trainee neurologist at a time when we have so many really effective treatments for MS. I can offer my patients and their families real hope for the future, which wasn’t the case when I was growing up.”

Dr Anisha Doshi, Trainee Neurologist, University College London Hospitals

Jacqueline sits at her computer at home

“I’m absolutely sure in 10 years’ time we’ll be in a completely different place” - Jacqueline’s story

“My only sister is a couple of years older than me. One day she started asking me how my first symptoms of MS had felt. Soon she had her own diagnosis of MS. She’s had a very quick spiral of symptoms. We talk every day. We talk about our MS, but about everything else too.

Right now, our only option is to keep firefighting the symptoms. What we really want to see is a way to stop them. I’ve had the opportunity to hear researchers and neurologists speak about the work they’re doing. They’re absolutely sure that in 10 years’ time we’ll be in a completely different place. In the meantime, I’ve joined MS-STAT2. I feel very fortunate to be eligible and involved - I know I’m in very capable hands.”

Jacqueline Krarup, MS-STAT2 participant