Clinical Trials Day

Blogs, News, Octopus

On Monday 20 May 2024 we mark Clinical Trials Day in the UK, an event organized and promoted by ACRP (Association of Clinical Research Professionals) since 2014.

What is a clinical trial?

In the most simple terms, a clinical trial is a type of research study which compares the effect of one test or treatment against another.

Why are they important?

Trials can help doctors understand how best to treat certain illnesses and conditions. By taking part in a trial you could be one of the first people to benefit from a new treatment. A clinical trial could benefit you, or others like you in the future.

What should you consider before joining a trial?

  • Trials can be time-consuming, some have multiple appointments and some require overnight stays. Sites for trials may be located some way away so it’s worth checking if the trial covers your travel expenses.
  • There may be side effects to any treatment being trialed. Make sure you are aware of possible side effects before signing up.
  • You might be restricted on what you can or can’t do whilst on the trial for example eating, or drinking alcohol.


Launched in 2022, the MS Society’s Octopus trial is a research project aimed at finding treatments that can slow down disability progression in people with MS. It is a multi-arm, multi-stage (MAMS) trial – the first for MS.

Octopus is being led by Professor Jeremy Chataway, consultant neurologist at National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) and professor of neurology, University College London. Recruitment for the trial is being facilitated by the UK MS Register.

Octopus will run until at least 2028 and will have 2 stages. Stage 1 is well on its way to recruiting the 375 participants (the aim is to complete in December 2024). Stage 2 will start in 2025 and will recruit about 825 more participants until around 2028.

Ailsa was one of the first participants to join Octopus, she has secondary progressive MS and said:

“I feel excited that I’m joining a long line of people who have helped progress MS research. Octopus has the potential to find treatments for people, like me, living with progressive MS – it’s given me hope.”

Further information about the Octopus trial can be found here.

You can read more about clinical trials around the world by visiting the World Health Organisation website.

If you want to support MS research but don’t wish to be involved in a clinical trial then why not join the UK MS Register. By donating your data you will be joining more than 20,000 other people with MS who have already signed up. Find out more here.