MS Research Australia does more than just fund research, it strives to facilitate and coordinate all aspects of MS research nationally. It also partners with MSIF and member countries to be part of a similar picture – globally.
One of its many initiatives is the MS Clinical Trials Network. The network was set up to encourage high quality clinical MS research in Australia and to increase awareness of clinical trials and clinical research for people with MS. The ultimate goal is to bring the latest advancements in treatment and interventions to the Australian MS community.
The network aids both people with MS and healthcare professionals. For healthcare professionals the network can supply expert assistance through the network’s Executive Committee and Scientific Review Committee, by reviewing protocols and helping researchers navigate the obstacles to launching a trial. They also have a special emphasis on trying to accelerate home-grown and Australian-led research.
For people with MS, the network supplies a list of up to date trials running in Australia that are relevant to people with MS. Participation in clinical research may provide early access to new treatments and an improved quality of life. It can be rewarding – it is an opportunity to contribute to progress towards better treatments and a cure.
Some recent Australian trials which have been listed on the MS trials website include,
- A trial looking at using an interactive step training system to reduce falls in people with MS. An increased fall risk and fear of falls have been shown to significantly affect quality of life and curtail activities among people with MS. Therefore, these researchers are seeking effective interventions to reduce fall risk in people with MS, and require people with MS to participate. In particular they are looking for people with MS who are between the ages of 18-70 years in WA or Victoria. Further criteria can been seen on the mstrials website.
- Another study is an online survey and information package. This study is trying to improve the employment situation of people with MS, as many individuals with MS have a work history or are in paid employment at the time of diagnosis, but find that maintaining employment with their MS can be difficult. These researchers are looking for people with MS who are over 18 years of age. Further details can be found on the mstrials website
Both of the above trials are based of successful pilot studies funded by MS Research Australia, and now are being rolled out as larger studies building on promising initial results.
Another Australian study being conducted is an investigation into attitudes towards seeking mental health assistance in individuals diagnosed with MS. This study is seeking involvement from people with a confirmed diagnosis of MS. This study hopes to understand the barriers that might prevent people with MS seeking mental health support.
In addition to the three trials listed here, there are further 22 trials on the MS trials website currently recruiting. We would urge people with MS, to check out the MS trials website and get involved if suitable.