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MS Trial Alert: Investigators Recruiting for Study of Antioxidant Lipoic Acid in Progressive MS

February 14, 2019

SUMMARY: Investigators at seven sites nationwide are recruiting 118 people with progressive forms of MS for a clinical trial testing whether the oral antioxidant lipoic acid improves function significantly more than inactive placebo. The study sites are in Birmingham (AL), Burlington (VT), Portland (OR), Salt Lake City (UT), Seattle (WA), and Washington DC. The study will involve seven site visits. The study is funded by the National MS Society and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Rationale: Antioxidants are natural or manmade substances found in many foods. Antioxidants block the action of “free radicals,” which are normal by-products of bodily processes that may cause tissue injury and turn on immune attacks in MS. In a study of 51 people with secondary progressive MS, the oral antioxidant lipoic acid was shown to reduce the rate of brain tissue loss compared to placebo. Now a larger study is needed to further study the potential benefits and safety of lipoic acid in progressive MS.
Eligibility and Details: Participants are individuals over the age of 18 who have secondary or primary progressive MS, are able to walk with or without a walking aid, and are able to undergo MRI scans of the brain. Further enrollment criteria are available from the contacts below.
Fifty-nine participants are being randomly assigned to receive oral lipoic acid, and 59 are receiving inactive placebo for 24 months. The study involves seven office visits. The primary outcome being measured is the change on a test that measures mobility and leg function. Other outcomes include change in brain tissue volume loss, falls, and overall safety.
Contact: To learn more about the enrollment criteria for this study, and to find out if you are eligible to participate, please contact the site near you:
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Lawanda Esquibel
(801) 587-3864 
University of Alabama in Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Kerry Howard
(205) 934-1885
University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
Emily Azalone
Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, WA
Laura Johnson
(206) 320-7115
VA Portland Health Care System, Portland, OR
Lauren Cameron
(503) 494-9548
VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA
Erin Hirschler
(206) 277-5519

Washington DC VA Medical Center, DC
Heidi Maloni
(202) 745-8000 x57873
VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, Salt Lake City, UT
Connie Kawai
(323) 442-5814
Dallas VA Medical Center, Dallas, TX
Rehana Hussain
(214) 648-7244
University of Colorado, Aurora, CO
Haley Jones
(303) 724-0797

Download a brochure that discusses issues to think about when considering enrolling in an MS clinical trial (PDF).
Without participants in research studies, MS research would come to a standstill. Read more here.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


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