People often wonder how they can be involved and help out with MS research. One way is by participating in clinical studies or clinical trials underway to better understand MS and investigate potential treatments and interventions.
It might feel daunting to volunteer for a clinical study. Perhaps you feel there might be too many tests and visits to do, or perhaps there’s a perception that clinical trials are only about testing experimental drugs or medications.
However, most people with MS find volunteering for studies a rewarding experience and there are many different types of studies underway: they can be survey based, mental health and wellness oriented, testing physiotherapy or other non-pharmaceutical interventions. Studies of this sort are vital to ensure all treatment options and recommendations being put forward for people with MS are evidence-based.
There can be some advantages to a person with MS participating in clinical studies. For example, you might gain early access to the latest in research, access to cutting-edge treatments and consultation with highly experienced healthcare specialists. Participating in clinical studies is also one of the most important things you can do to help others living with MS in the present and those that may be diagnosed in the future.
To find studies looking for participants with MS, you can visit the mstrials.org.au website. This is a site hosted by MS Research Australia to help bring together people with MS and researchers. Over 38 studies are currently recruiting people with MS. Two examples that illustrate the diversity of trials underway are: (1) a study testing gold particles to enhance the repair of MS lesions, especially those that affect vision and (2) an observational study looking at people with MS who experience sleep disturbance due to sleep apnoea. Both of these studies recruiting in Australia are addressing important aspects of MS that urgently need a solution.
Details of the gold particle trial can be found here. This is an international trial recruiting people with MS across 10 centres both overseas and in Australia, with centres in NSW, VIC, WA and QLD. This trial is looking at whether a novel gold compound can assist the body’s natural myelin repair processes to repair vision-impairing MS lesions. The aim of this trial is to see if this compound can help restore the myelin sheath on nerve cells which have been damaged by MS.
The details of the sleep study can be found here. This MS Research Australia funded project is being carried out at the Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) institute in Randwick, Sydney. The researchers are trying to better understand the causes of sleep apnoea in people with MS, as sleep disruption is very common in people with MS. A better understanding of this will allow the development of targeted therapies that might improve sleep and quality of life for people with MS. The involvement they require from people with MS is no more than the willingness to spend the night in their sleep lab.
All the trials listed on the www.mstrials.org.au website have been approved by a human research ethics committee and are meticulously designed and planned with strict enrolment criteria and data collection processes to ensure that the results are accurate and free from bias. To find out more about the huge range of trials busily recruiting here in Australia visit our website www.mstrials.org.au.