The biggest ever trial for secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) has kicked off in the UK at around 30 sites in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Eire.
Co-funded by the MS Society, MS-STAT2 is designed to confirm whether simvastatin could be one of the first drugs to slow or stop the progression of disability for SPMS, a form of the condition that currently has little effective treatment.
The plan is to enroll 1,180 people at nearly 30 sites around the UK and Ireland.
The move follows positive results from a smaller trial, which showed that the cholesterol buster could boost levels of disability and slow disease progression and that it reduced the rate of brain atrophy, suggesting that is might protect nerves from damage in patients with the disease.
“Simvastatin is one of the most promising treatment prospects for secondary progressive MS in our lifetime,” said Dr Jeremy Chataway, UCL Institute of Neurology, who is leading the trial.
“People with this form of the condition have been waiting decades for a drug that works, which is why there’s such excitement around being able to start the trial. While it’s still early days, we believe simvastatin could change lives.”
“Today if you’re diagnosed with this form of MS you don’t have any options, but we’re getting closer to changing that, and hopefully delivering the solution everyone has been waiting for,” added Dr Susan Kohlhaas is Director of Research at the MS Society.
The trial is being funded by the MS Society in collaboration with the National Institute for Health Research, the National MS Society (US), the NHS and UK universities.