Saskatchewan exploring options after MS Clinical Trial cancelled

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The Saskatchewan government has been informed that the Albany Medical Center has decided to stop its clinical trial into the effectiveness of angioplasty in treating chronic cerebro-spinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) and relieving the symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Clinical trial lead Dr. Gary Siskin has advised the Ministry of Health that he was unable to meet the target enrolment necessary for the study to produce statistically valid results. Despite Saskatchewan’s 86 planned participants, the research team could not recruit enough total participants to meet United States government requirements for a clinical trial.

“This news is disappointing for the approximately 3,500 Saskatchewan people who want to know whether this kind of treatment can help relieve MS symptoms,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said. “Our government wants to do everything it can to search for answers and further the science for people with MS. That’s why Saskatchewan was supportive of this trial and will continue to be supportive of research that may provide answers for those with MS and their families.”

Saskatchewan has more people per capita who suffer from MS than anywhere other province in Canada. The Ministry of Health will work with its health and research partners to explore other options.

“We regret that our inability to meet our target enrolment will make it impossible to draw statistically meaningful conclusions from this study,” Dr. Siskin said. “The Government of Saskatchewan should be admired for its forward thinking approach and genuine compassion. The multiple sclerosis community is fortunate to have such a partner in its corner.”

The provincial government had committed up to $2.2 million to have Saskatchewan patients participate in the Albany study. Costs to date have been about $150,000.

MS is a neurological disease of unknown origin that impairs or destroys the functioning of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

Organizations: Ministry of Health, Albany Medical Center

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Albany

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