Proof of concept studies for tissue-protective agents in multiple sclerosis.
ABSTRACT There is considerable interest in tissue-protective treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS).
We convened a group of MS clinical trialists and related researchers to discuss designs for proof of concept studies utilizing currently available data and assessment methods.
Our favored design was a randomized, double-blind, parallel-group study of active treatment versus placebo focusing on changes in brain volume from a post-baseline scan (3-6 months after starting treatment) to the final visit 1 year later. Study designs aimed at reducing residual deficits following acute exacerbations are less straightforward, depending greatly on the anticipated rapidity of treatment effect onset.
The next step would be to perform one or more studies of potential tissue-protective agents with these designs in mind, creating the longitudinal data necessary to refine endpoint selection, eligibility criteria, and sample size estimates for future trials.