Friday, 15 May 2015


Hi there!

I’m really excited to announce that we’ve started the MS-SMART trial in secondary progressive MS (SPMS). Maybe some of you have seen the media coverage e.g. on the MS society website or on the BBC news. It’s been a long time coming, with a number of bumps in the road, but we’re here now!

This is part of the process of developing a really strong group of drugs that we believe will have an effect on slowing progression. 

We have to do these mid-phase trials (what we call phase 2), measuring MRI primarily, before we move to the final trials (phase 3) where we concentrate on disabilities such as walking. Though of course we will measure everything in this trial e.g. walking/arms/vision/memory (you name it!). This is because we want a really strong signal to move forward to the final and much more expensive late stage trials. But we know we can do phase 2 trials and we’ve seen success with simvastatin (MS-STAT trial) last year.

Here we’ve chose 3 brand new drugs with some early evidence that they’ll work in SPMS and we’ll compare them to 1 dummy drug. All will look the same, and each person entering the trial will be randomly assigned to one of the 4 possibilities. These drugs have been used for motor neurone disease (MND), heart disease and depression: though of course that’s not what we using them for here. They are being re-purposed.

440 people can enter the trial, with the London Centres being Queen Square, Bart’s and Imperial NHS Trust/Charing Cross. Please contact your neurologist or GP. 

I’m afraid the maximum disability is walking 20 metres with a frame or 2 sticks, the minimum walking about 500m or less. 

You can’t be on a DMT or an anti-depressant (apart from amitriptyline) and must be able to have an MRI scan (there are 3 in the trial). The trial lasts 2 years and we’ll recruit this year.

More details on or ask your Dr to contact me (Box 100, National Hospital, Queen square, London WC1N 3BG)
All best wishes

Jeremy Chataway
Consultant Neurologist

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