Landmark MND trial to test potential new treatments

Patients with motor neurone disease (MND) across the UK are being sought for an innovative clinical trial to test potential new treatments.

Developed to find effective medicines more quickly, MND-SMART aims to find treatments that can slow, stop or reverse disease progression.

Led by the Euan MacDonald Centre, it will include as many people with the condition as possible, regardless of how the disease or current treatments affect them.

Typically, clinical trials focus on a single drug compared with a placebo, but MND-SMART will allow more than one treatment to be tested against a shared placebo group. Patients therefore have a higher likelihood of receiving an active treatment.

The clinical trial is designed to be adaptive so that the researchers can modify their approach according to emerging results. New drugs can be added once the trial has started, while medicines that prove ineffective can be dropped.

Initially researchers will test drugs that are already licensed for use in other conditions to check whether they offer any benefit for people with MND.

This repurposing of existing drugs avoids some of the lengthy approvals processes associated with new drugs and could cut years off the time taken for the medications to become available to people with MND through the NHS.

People with MND are invited to register their interest online.

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