Two Alliance members fund multi-million Euro trial to investigate if statins could become MS treatment

A phase 3 trial involving more than 1,000 people with multiple sclerosis (MS) is to investigate whether simvastatin could become a treatment for the condition.

The project will cost more almost €7 million and is being funded by a collaboration between the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the MS Society (UK), the National MS Society (US), the NHS (UK) and UK universities.

The trial will test simvastatin, an inexpensive cholesterol-lowering drug, in people with secondary progressive MS (SPMS). There are currently no licensed treatments that can slow or stop disability progression in people with this type of MS.

The research will be led by Dr Jeremy Chataway, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, who led the phase 2 trial into simvastatin that was published in The Lancet in 2014. It involved 140 people with secondary progressive MS. The research found those taking high doses of the drug had a significant reduction in the rate of brain atrophy (brain shrinkage) over two years and also had better disability scores at the end of study.

The simvastatin trial will involve 1180 people with secondary progressive MS at almost thirty centres across the UK. It will take six years to complete, with the first people receiving medication later this year.

“This drug holds incredible promise for the thousands of people living with secondary progressive MS in the UK, and around the world, who currently have few options for treatments that have an effect on disability. This study will establish definitively whether simvastatin is able to slow the rate of disability progression over a three year period, and we are very hopeful it will.”

Dr Jeremy Chataway

Trial funding:

The trial will cost nearly €7 million in total, with research costs of:

  • €1.75 million NIHR (Health Technology Assessment Board)
  • €1.39 million MS Society (UK)
  • €1.39 million National MS Society (US)

For more information on the trial visit: www.mssociety.org.uk/ms-stat2

MS STAT-2 - new trial for possible MS treatment

Dr Jeremy Chataway, UCL Institute of Neurology, discusses the phase 3 trial assessing simvastatin in people with secondary progressive MS

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