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TrialSmart: Empowering the MS Community for clinical trials

20 December 2023

  • TrialSmart launches at the MS Australia Progress in MS Research conference in Perth.
  • TrialSmart aims to support clinical trial platforms in Australia by providing information and education about clinical trials for people with MS and their communities.
  • TrialSmart was informed by unmet needs from the MS community, including co-design by people with MS.

TrialSmart is a nine-part series of educational modules for people with MS and the wider MS community.

Informed by the MS Australia Research Priorities Survey of the MS community, it addresses unmet needs around clinical trials.

This is particularly important in the current climate as Australia is about to embark on groundbreaking clinical trials in 2024, including PLATYPUS and other clinical trials exploring Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).

What does TrialSmart cover?

TrialSmart consists of nine standalone modules, each building upon the other. Each module is between 15 and 30 minutes long and can be viewed as many times as needed.

As each module explores a new concept, they are best viewed in order, but alternatively, each module can be viewed as a standalone resource if a topic is of particular interest. The nine modules include:

  • Module 1: Introduction to clinical trials
  • Module 2: Regulations in clinical trials
  • Module 3: Understanding informed consent
  • Module 4: Is a clinical trial right for me?
  • Module 5: Balancing usual clinical care and a clinical trial
  • Module 6: Accessing clinical trials
  • Module 7: The lived experience of clinical trials
  • Module 8: Different ways to contribute to MS research
  • Module 9: New ways forward with clinical trials (PLATYPUS and OCTOPUS)

Viewers can leave and pick up again later if needed.

Additionally, MS Australia provides this resource at no cost to ensure accessibility for all.

Who has been involved in the development of TrialSmart?

People living with MS and those caring for them informed the development of TrialSmart at every step of the way.

The lived experience informed our understanding of the unmet needs related to clinical trial education and awareness for people with MS. It also highlighted the specific topics that individuals with MS were keen to explore further.

People with lived experience were also consulted to co-design the modules, write the interview scripts, and select appropriate experts to be involved in the process.

Module 7 is a discussion about lived experience as a central theme, featuring people with MS discussing their various experiences and providing tips for the best clinical trial outcomes.

Each module provides a discussion as a storybook about different topics and introduces experts to engage in a wider discussion about the concepts covered.

Involved in the modules are MS Nurses, Clinical Trial coordinators, MS organisation leaders, neurologists, researchers, pharmaceutical company specialists and human research ethics committee leaders.

Exciting times ahead in Australian MS research

TrialSmart is an important development for the Australian MS Community, introducing a bespoke Australian resource at a very exciting time in MS research in this country.

The new year will bring important clinical trials, in both relapsing and progressive forms of MS, and looks set to have a significant impact on MS research.

Educating and empowering people with MS to be informed and ready for these clinical trials are priorities and privileges for MS Australia.

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TrialSmart: Empowering the MS Community for clinical trials