Nat asks Dr Jeremy Chataway, Neurologist about a new multimillion pound trial for primary progressive MS.
Nat: I imagine now many, many people are going to want to be involved in this fantastic new trial and excited it’s come about. How can people get involved in future trials such as this?
Dr Jeremy Chataway, Neurologist: Yes, so we’re really keen and I think one of the reasons for us to talk about it was to get people, as it were, trial ready, so that when the trial is ready to go in about six to eight months or so, people are enthusiastic and want to get into it. There’s initial information on the UK MS Society website and people can put their basic details. But as I said, we will be running this trial up and down the country: England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, and so we’d like people maybe later in the year when they see their neurologist to talk to them about entering this trial and then contacting the local investigator for this trial.
Nat: So, you mentioned this as a repurposed drug, can you please explain to us a little bit about what that means?
Dr Jeremy Chataway: Yes, so repurposing is very interesting and essentially it means the drug that is used for one thing can be used for something completely different. So here we have simvastatin, which is entirely familiar for lowering cholesterol and use after heart attacks, but here we are using it to protect the nerves. I suppose another example would be aspirin. So aspirin’s a very good painkiller, but we probably use it more commonly these days, again, to protect after heart attack and strokes. And there’s something about these drugs which gives them multiple beneficial effects in particular parts of the human body. The great thing about it is that because it’s been used in millions and millions of people around the world for its original purpose of lowering cholesterol, we know that simvastatin is a very safe drug. Of course, we’re using high dose simvastatin here and that needs to be done under supervised medical supervision, because there can of course be occasional and rare side effects. But generally, the good thing is that we regard it as a very safe drug and we know it inside out. So in a way we get a bit of a running start when we start to do trials in different conditions.
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