MS-SMART Trial for Secondary Progressive MS Announced
The phase 2 trial will compare amiloride, ibudilast, and riluzole to placebo
The MS Society UK today announced that a new clinical trial will begin accruing patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) in the fall. The trial will compare amiloride, ibudilast, and riluzole to placebo and will evaluate both efficacy and safety.
Led by Jeremy Chataway, Ph.D., FRCP, of University College London and Siddharthan Chandran, M.B., Ph.D., of the University of Edinburgh, the Multiple Sclerosis-Secondary Progressive Multi-Arm Randomisation Trial (MS-SMART) will be conducted at 15 sites in England and Scotland. Researchers intend to recruit 440 patients for the 3-year trial.
At present there are no drugs known to slow the worsening of symptoms in SPMS. Each of the drugs to be tested in MS-SMART has already been approved for other conditions. Amiloride (Midamor) is a potassium-sparing diuretic first approved in 1967 and used in heart failure, hypertension, renal impairment, and hyperkalemia. Ibudilast, an anti-inflammatory and phosphodiesterase inhibitor, is used in Japan for asthma. And riluzole (Rilutek, Sanofi-Aventis), an inhibitor of TTX-sensitive sodium channels, is used in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Huntington’s disease.
In an interview with the BBC, Chataway said, "We hope at least one of these drugs will show that it significantly reduces the rate of brain loss - we're hoping for 30% or 40% reduction."
The £2.7 million MS-SMART trial is sponsored by University College London and funded by the (U.K.) Medical Research Council and the MS Society UK with additional support from the (U.S.) National MS Society and the Italian Multiple Sclerosis Society (AISM).
Some interesting commentary on MS-SMART by MouseDoctor over at the Multiple Sclerosis Research blog. MouseDoctor notes that the trial is being run "by lots of neuros and not pharma."
MouseDoctor goes on to say, "This whole process started many, many years ago and has taken years to get the funding and the rest in place and to select the drugs in a rational way.
"The UK MS Society has been instrumental for gettting this study off the ground, but the Promise 2010 process from the [National MS Society] in the USA should also be acknowledged for its part in focus the initative. I can remeber the vison being spoken about at a meeting in New York many moons ago."