ChariotMS is finally gaining the traction we’ve been hoping for for a long time. There were significant issues, of course, with the pandemic disruption and all, but hey we’ve been in this since at least 2016, yet only if you discard 2012-15 during which crucial work was undertaken to get to that first critical point – when suddenly, and almost miraculously, everybody agrees this study needs to be done! And it feels good when that happens because you think all the sweat and frustration were worth it, the nights spent at the computer and phone, and the summer holiday leaving the beach essentially untouched (a posh problem to have, I know!) because the NIHR is waiting for your rebuttal and new costings, etc. And it’s obviously not only yourself, but the whole team that’s been pulling along. But that sense of elation lasts only until you realise what an uphill battle it is from funding decisions (and in the case of ChariotMS five different organisations are involved) to the first participant joining the trial. And then you think, oh it must get easier from here. But no, all UK non-COVID trial activity is on its knees with research staff in other positions, retired, or worse…
So, it’s really block by block then, and the wonderful funders are starting to breathe down your neck setting new timelines, and you start feeling a little like that summer holiday again… Only a little though, since what has happened in the meantime is that almost the entire MS research community has bought into the concept of the study and – most importantly – people with advanced MS are losing patience waiting to finally have a crack at joining a trial that could make a real difference, if not for them, then for the many others who are currently excluded from disease modifying treatment!
The almost surreal thing about ChariotMS is that it hasn’t aged at all – The questions we asked five years ago are still there to be answered. So, spread the word, we’re recruiting like hell now at eight sites across the UK (England, Wales, Scotland, with Belfast to join soon), with a total of 20 sites planned to be open by the end of March.
Investigator meeting today, announced at short notice, was hugely encouraging. Over 50 colleagues from trial sites in the UK attended to join our 60:6 challenge – to recruit 60 people with advanced MS by the end of June, a key milestone for ChariotMS. Check slide no 11 for your nearest site, visit our PPI website http://www.chariotms.com, ask your GP and neurologist for a referral. Let’s roll !ChariotMS_Investigator_Meeting_20220211-1
ChariotMS is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) [Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation programme (17/145/09)]. The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.
ChariotMS is further generously supported by the MS Society UK, the US National MS Society, Merck Healthcare and Barts Charity.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are those of the author and nobody else.