Leeds patients to be involved in ground-breaking £6m MS treatment trial

Dr Helen Ford.Dr Helen Ford.
Dr Helen Ford.
People living with multiple sclerosis in Leeds could be part of a ground-breaking trial that hopes to help thousands who are relapsing with the condition.

The £5.8m trial, investigating the effects of the simvastatin drug, will now also involve people in Leeds after research leaders announced St James’ Hospital consultant Dr Helen Ford will help co-ordinate the programme.

Simvastatin, a cheap cholesterol lowering drug, will be tested on people with the secondary progressive form of MS.

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There is currently no licensed treatment that can slow or stop the progression of the secondary progressive form of the condition.

Dr Ford, clinical lead for the West Yorkshire MS Treatment Programme, said: “It’s great news that this large trial has been funded in secondary progressive MS. There are currently no effective treatments available to slow down the worsening of disability in progressive MS.

“As a collaborator in this project I’m pleased that people with MS in Leeds will have the opportunity to take part. “

The announcement comes after the phase two trial into the drug was published in 2014, involving 140 people suffering from the condition.

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It found that those taking high doses of simvastatin had a significant reduction in the rate of brain atrophy over the two years of the study.

The third phase will involve more than 1,000 people who have MS.

Recruitment for the trial will take place later in the year.

Professor Sue Pavitt, from the University of Leeds, has also been confirmed as a collaborator for the new study.

It will cost almost £6m, funded by National Institute for Health Research, the MS Society UK, the National MS Society, the NHS and UK universities.