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My Name’5 Doddie Foundation attends the first national meeting of the ACORD collaboration

22 June 2022

Recently, My Name’5 Doddie Foundation attended the first national meeting of the ACORD collaboration (A Collaboration Of groups developing, Running and reporting multi-arm multi-stage trials in neurodegenerative Diseases), hosted by the MRC Clinical Trials Unit.

The collaboration is a group of investigators, trial teams, patients and funders of innovative multi-arm multi-stage (MAMS) trials in four neurodegenerative diseases: MND, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Our understanding of these diseases has advanced significantly in recent years, however, progression of disease-modifying therapies into the clinic has been hampered, in part by inefficient clinical trial design. People who receive one of these devastating diagnoses still have very few treatment options; something the ACORD collaboration aims to tackle. The meeting was an opportunity to hear updates on progress and learn from each other about the complexities of running such trials.

‘Traditional’ clinical trials, that investigate the efficacy of a single drug, have been likened to building a new stadium to play just one game, before tearing it down again. Designing the trial, gaining necessary approvals, training staff, recruiting participants and data analysis are all elements that contribute to a timescale measured in years, sometimes decades. What’s more, the whole process must be repeated the next time a drug is ready to be tested.

So, what is a MAMS trial and why is it beneficial? These are specifically designed to test more than one drug at the same time. Additional drugs can be added once the trial is already established; each new drug that is added to the trial is another game played at the stadium. Another huge benefit of a MAMS trial is that drugs found to be ineffective are removed following data analysis at pre-specified time points, thus limiting participants exposure to a treatment that is not helping their disease. Allowing ineffective treatments to be dropped and new treatments to be added ensures continuous and efficient investigation of new medicines.

When testing a new drug, it is important to compare it to a placebo (dummy drug). In traditional trials, 50% of participants will receive placebo, and 50% will receive the active drug. In MAMS trials, every drug is compared to a single placebo group, increasing the chance of a participant receiving an active drug to around 66%, or even 75% – more favourable odds, especially for someone with a disease that has so few treatment options.

The ACORD collaboration was founded largely on the success of the STAMPEDE clinical trial in prostate cancer. Since opening in 2005, the trial has tested 10 treatments and led to a change in the standard of care of prostate cancer 4 times. The trial is now planned to run until 2029.

My Name’5 Doddie Foundation is immensely proud to be a key funder of the UK’s first MAMS trial in MND, MND-SMART, alongside the Euan MacDonald Centre and MND Scotland. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the ACORD collaboration and understanding how innovation in clinical trials will lead to more efficient development of new treatments for MND and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Visit this page to find out more about the ACORD collaboration.

My Name’5 Doddie Foundation attends the first national meeting of the ACORD collaboration

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