Early trial results recently reported in The Lancet (MS-STAT) show the cholesterol-lowering drug Simvastatin slows brain shrinkage in people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and University College London (UCL) scientists say larger trials of the drug can now begin. These will monitor whether statins benefit MS patients by slowing progression of the disease and easing their symptoms.

Scientists have worked for years to find a potential treatment that could help people, and now, finally, one has been found that might

Dr Susan Kohlhaas, MS Society

Usually, around half of people with MS will go on to develop more advanced symptoms after around 10 years - known as secondary progressive MS. It is at this stage of the disease that Dr Jeremy Chataway and colleagues at UCL hope to treat with low cost statins. To date, no licensed drugs have shown any convincing impact on this later stage.

This is great news for people living with progressive multiple sclerosis; Dr Chataway’s earlier findings suggested that simvastatin may protect nerve cells from dying in multiple sclerosis and of course this may have implications for other neurodegenerative conditions. The Cure Parkinson's Trust is delighted that Dr Chataway and his team are embarking on a Phase III study of Simvastatin to determine whether the imaging findings in their initial study translate into clinical benefit that is meaningful for patients. In the Simvastatin in Parkinson's trial (PD-STAT) we are conducting an initial evaluation of 80mg Simvastatin to determine whether it may hold promise as a protective treatment in Parkinson’s and slow disease progression. This is the same dose and regime of Simvastatin as was used in the MS-STAT study. We are continuing to recruit to PD–STAT and would welcome enquiries from anyone with Parkinson’s who may be interested in participating.