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It has been hailed as a globally significant ‘mega trial’ and a ‘game changer’. It is the world’s first multi-arm, multi-stage trial for progressive MS.

Years in the making, the MS Society UK’s ‘OCTOPUS’ adaptive clinical trial has just started recruiting the first participants. And it’s doing so having identified – through a careful and complex process – a group of existing drugs that are currently used for other diseases which may also target progression in MS.

MS UK has allocated around A$25m for the trials, which will eventually involve some 30 sites across the UK. We hope that, in time, we will also be able to link up with OCTOPUS with our own Australian trial sites.

OCTOPUS is considered ‘revolutionary’ because it uses a ‘smarter way’ of testing potential treatments that could deliver life-changing therapies up to three times faster, combining what would normally be two separate trials into one.

In effect, it can test multiple drugs at once using just a single control group. Drugs can be stopped if they don’t look promising and can be replaced with others on the priority list.

We at MS Australia are excited about the trial and are in close contact with MS Society UK’s lead Professors, Jeremy Chataway and Max Parmar and other key players, following progress closely, and looking forward to collaborating with them before too long.

As the UK team says, “people with progressive MS can’t wait any longer. Their hope is in our hands. It’s a big responsibility, but the rewards will be absolutely immense.”

Rohan Greenland The May 50K

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From our CEO