Nat asks Dr Jeremy Chataway about a new multimillion pound trial for primary progressive MS.
Nat: Hi there Jeremy, thank you for taking the time to speak to us today. I imagine you’ve had an extremely busy day from this morning since you started.
Dr Jeremy Chataway, Neurologist: Yeah. No, it’s a great pleasure, a great pleasure indeed.
Nat: What can you tell us about the breaking news today in MS?
Dr Jeremy Chataway: Yeah, so today we’ve made the formal announcement of this new trial that’s going to take place, called the MS-STAT 2 trial. So this is over a thousand people with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis taking part up and down the country, and today we discussed this trial and highlighted this trial and we’ll be starting to recruit into this trial later in the year, probably towards the end of the year and early next year.
Nat: Why have statins specifically been trialled in people with secondary progressive MS? If you could just explain why they’ve just dealt with people with secondary progressive MS in this case?
Dr Jeremy Chataway: Yes. I mean there’s been a long history of experimental work that seemed to suggest that statins, which of course are commonly used to lower cholesterol and used after heart attack and after stroke may also have a nerve protective effect in the brain and the central nervous system. So in 2014 we did some specific work that we published on people with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, and this was a group of a 140 people. And half of the group had the real drug, the simvastatin, and half had the dummy drug. And two years later we measured the volume of the brain using special MRI scanners. And just to explain that, all of our brains shrink a little bit, it’s a little bit more in progressive MS, and we can measure that and we were able to show that we made a difference in that rate by over 40%. And that to us was very, very exciting, it gave us the signal to go forward. It also seemed to have some effect on improving the disability of people with progressive MS, but we needed a much bigger trial to show that definitively and this is the trial we’ve talked about today.
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