MND-SMART clinical trial update: the latest facts and figures

a research nurse showing a consent form to a couple

Dec 2021: Our clinical trial of drug treatments in MND has now recruited over 250 people and there are 15 sites recruiting participants across Scotland and England.

MND-SMART is an innovative drugs trial led by the Euan MacDonald Centre that is designed to speed up the time it takes to find medicines that can slow, stop, or reverse the progression of MND.

Launched in early 2020 at the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic in Edinburgh, the trial has now grown to include 15 sites across Scotland and England, with more in the pipeline. Many of these sites have not offered clinical trials to people with MND in the past. MND-SMART has opened up many more opportunities to participate in a trial.

The Covid-19 pandemic proved a challenge and recruitment had to be paused to comply with legal requirements. However the team kept working hard behind the scenes and re-opened recruitment at the earliest opportunity. Fortunately the trial was already designed to use telephone and video call follow-ups where possible to reduce participant travel and face-to-face contact.

Over 250 people have now been enrolled in the trial. The teams at every site are trying to enrol as many participants as they can in addition to routine clinical appointments, while ensuring patient safety. To participate in the trial, people take a liquid medicine once a day, keep a diary and attend appointments. MND-SMART is currently testing two drugs to see if either of them slow down the progression of MND compared with a placebo (dummy drug). The two drugs are memantine (currently used to treat Alzheimer's) and trazodone (currently used to treat anxiety and depression). Neither participants, nor the trial team, know whether they are receiving one of the two trial drugs or the placebo.

It's too early for the team to know yet whether either drug is having a beneficial effect. The trial design means that an independent group of experts will review the data at specific points during the trial. Once the trial of a study drug is completed then everyone involved can be ‘unblinded’ (revealing who was taking what).

The trial is funded by the Euan MacDonald Centre, MND Scotland and the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation.

For more information please visit the MND-SMART website.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions can be found here

This article was published on: Monday, December 06, 2021