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    You are here : Home » About MS » Research / Trials

    Research / Trials

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    Clinical TrialsTaking part in Trials into Multiple Sclerosis Treatments

    We are often asked to explain how a person is selected as a subject for a research study and even more searchingly, “how can I get selected?”

    Aims

    The aims of a genuine research study will be carefully targeted with the intention of trying to obtain a significant result. This could be to prove or disprove an existing theory or proposition, or to establish the relevance of a new idea or treatment and therefore interest other workers in attempting to develop it.

    Selection Criteria

    The criteria for selection will be based on the needs of the study. Although the overall purpose is to improve the condition of people with MS, the immediate concern will be to observe the responses, good or bad, to whatever treatment is being examined.

    The subjects (people with MS) will be selected to provide the elements, the symptom(s), evidence of degree of damage, physical impairments, general health status, age, sex etc, that are indicated by the aims and parameters of the study protocol.

    Controls

    A study will be designed with various controls to ensure that the responses observed are real and related directly to the treatment. This usually means that some subjects, who still meet the selection criteria, become a 'placebo' group, that is they do not receive the treatment. Instead they are given an inert substitute which should have no effect on their condition. These subjects match the 'treated' group in every practical way. The important thing is that neither the patient nor the doctor knows who is in which group.

    Meanwhile the 'treated' group receive the real treatment and the differences in response between the two groups are noted, analysed and a paper is written which often forms the basis of detailed discussion. This may or may not lead to further work.

    Expectations

    Experience shows that people are often not clear about what is likely to happen and they frequently have quite unrealisable expectations that their symptoms will be greatly mitigated or perhaps that it will produce a cure. If they could effectively understand their role and the possible outcomes, there could be more accurate participation, confusion could be avoided and where there was no personal improvement, disappointment may be more bearable.

    There are certain requirements for doctors to explain things to prospective subjects but before the study starts, individuals should ask the doctor about the matters that concern them - the things they often ask us! We have a short list of questions that readers may find helpful.

    Information you need to know about the trial/study

    "I want to make an informed decision about becoming involved in this study and need your help with information".

    • Please can I have a written explanation of the project.
    • What is the purpose of the research?
    • What drugs or other agents will be used?
    • Can you tell me who the manufacturers are?
    • Where and how will the treatment be done?
    • In what way do you want me to report to you my feelings and experiences of the treatment?
    • Can I be reimbursed for my essential expenses of attending?

    Further Information

    © Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre (MSRC)

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