Research hope for progressive MS is increasing

Numerous clinical trials focusing on progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) are on the horizon and could potentially revolutionise treatment strategies, according to neurologist Dr. Jeremy Chataway, who shared his insights during the 9th Joint ECTRIMS-ACTRIMS meeting.

Dr Chataway highlighted the diversity of these trials. One of the spotlighted trials is the MS-STAT2 study, which examines the impact of simvastatin (Zocor), an affordable cholesterol-lowering statin, on slowing MS progression. He pointed to encouraging results from the previous MS-STAT1 study, where high-dose simvastatin displayed a favorable safety profile and reduced brain atrophy.

Recognising the role of vascular morbidity in driving disability and mortality in MS, Dr. Chataway stressed the potential for interventions in this area. A trial addressing this is already underway, with results expected in 2024 and 2025.

Another study explores the effects of lipoic acid, also known as alpha-lipoic acid, as an antioxidant in MS. A previous pilot study indicated a substantial reduction in brain atrophy with lipoic acid treatment. The LAPMS study, sponsored by the Veterans Administration, aims to assess its impact on walking ability, clinical outcomes, and brain atrophy, with phase 2 results anticipated within the next couple of years.

Dr. Chataway also spoke about his OCTOPUS study, a multifaceted investigation into various drugs for progressive MS. This study begins with metformin and also explores the potential of lipoic acid.

The CALLIPER trial, a phase 2 study, has concluded enrolment and is poised to release top-line data in 2025. It assesses the effectiveness of vidofludimus calcium in patients with progressive MS.

Dr. Chataway also highlighted the NACPMS trial, a phase 2 study of n-acetyl cysteine, and a phase 1 trial investigating SAR443820, a central nervous system-penetrating oral RIPK1 inhibitor, as promising avenues for further research.

In the interest of full transparency, Dr. Chataway disclosed various grants, advisory board roles, and support he receives from a range of organizations in the field of MS research.