NBT Researcher

Multiple Sclerosis Current Research

Multiple Sclerosis research taking place at North Bristol NHS Trust

Please speak to the person treating you to see if there is a research study that may be able to help you.

Current Studies:


Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a progressive neurological disorder of the brain and spinal cord. It affects approximately 120,000 people in the UK and 2.5 million people globally. Most people with MS experience two stages of the disease:

Early MS – Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS), which is partially reversible.

Late MS – Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS), which affects the majority of patients, usually after 10 to 15 years after diagnosis.

SPMS results from progressive neuronal degeneration that causes accumulating and irreversible disability affecting walking, balance, manual function, vision, cognition, pain control, bladder and bowel function. The pathological process driving the accrual of disability in SPMS is not known at present.

Immunomodulatory anti-inflammatory disease modifying therapies (DMTs) are increasingly effective in reducing relapse frequency in RRMS, however, they have been unsuccessful in slowing disease progression in SPMS. This is the overwhelming conclusion from an analysis of 18 phase 3 trials (n=8500), of which 70% of the population had SPMS, all performed in the last 25 years. There is no current disease modifying treatment (DMT) for SPMS.

In an earlier study (MS-STAT1), 140 people with SPMS were randomly assigned to receive either placebo or simvastatin for a period of two years. The investigators found that the rate of brain atrophy (loss of neurons - ‘brain shrinkage’), as measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), was reduced in patients receiving simvastatin compared to those taking placebo.

Several other long term studies have also reported that there might be a relationship between the rate of brain atrophy and the degree of impairment.

The study is designed to test the effectiveness of repurposed simvastatin (80mg) in a phase 3 double blind, randomised, placebo controlled trial (1:1) in patients with secondary progressive MS (SPMS), to determine if the rate of disability progression can be slowed over a 3 year period.

Project Details
Chief Investigator: Dr Claire Rice
Planned End Date: TBC
Local Ref: 4104

A prospective, real world pharmacovigilance study in Multiple Sclerosis

This pragmatic, prospective observational cohort study is planned to run for 7 years to estimate the frequency of serious adverse events with real world DMT use in routine clinical practice in the UK. It is a non-interventional cohort study. The study will recruit people with MS on treatment from major MS care clinics across the country, as well as those starting, switching or potentially eligible for treatment, but who are not currently taking DMT. This study will provide – for the first time - an estimate of overall rates of serious adverse events associated with DMT (including multiple sclerosis relapses or opportunistic infections) in the UK population with MS. It will facilitate a way of exploring related questions regarding the relative benefits vs risks of treatment and the influence of prior treatments on adverse events.

Project Details
Principal Investigator: TBC
Planned End Date: TBC
Local Ref: 4635

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NBT Researcher

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Research & Development
North Bristol NHS Trust
Level 3, Learning & Research building
Southmead Hospital
Bristol, BS10 5NB

Telephone: 0117 4149330
Email: research@nbt.nhs.uk