MND-SMART is growing: thank you to all our participants and site teams!

a man sitting at a desk in a clinic room, smiling at a researcher who is holding a clipboard

June 2023: MND-SMART has reached several milestones recently in terms of number of participants recruited, number of sites open, and number of drugs being tested.

As we enter global MND Awareness Month in June, it's a good time to reflect on the growth of MND-SMART.

Launched three years ago, in 2020, just as we entered a global pandemic, the trial has grown steadily and is now the largest-ever clinical trial for MND in the UK.

We are very grateful to our funders the Euan MacDonald Centre for MND Research, MND Scotland and the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation who have made the trial possible.


Milestones we have reached this Spring are:

500 participants recruited

The one factor a clinical trial can't do without is participants! It's only by gathering enough data from enough people over a sufficiently long time that we can draw statistically valid conclusions about whether a drug is working. We appreciate that to consider joining a trial after a diagnosis of MND is a big decision and we are incredibly grateful to the more than 500 people who have contributed and continue to do so. We've introduced adaptations to the trial protocol to make it easier for people to take part, such as couriering drugs to people's homes, and introducing video appointments, and continue to listen to people with MND about how we can do even better. To register interest in joining the trial, please complete the form here: Register Interest. Please get in touch if you're interested to join our patient advisory panel.

20 sites open

For safety reasons, in order to participate in MND-SMART our participants must live within reach of a trial centre, where they can be seen regularly by clinical professionals. To make MND-SMART as widely available as possible across the UK, we've been working hard to open new trial sites, and have now reached 20, across all four home nations of the UK. It's been wonderful to grow the team of doctors and research nurses who want to deliver MND-SMART in their local site, not to mention willing to deal with the mountains of important regulatory paperwork. We have had participants from Shetland to the Isle of Wight, and are continually striving to open more sites and bring MND-SMART to more people as well as increasing the diversity of participants. See our trial sites.

3 trial drugs being tested

In a traditional clinical trial, a single drug is tested against a placebo. However MND-SMART is what's known as a multi-arm trial, which means that we can test multiple drugs against a single placebo. This speeds things up considerably, as well as gives participants a better chance of receiving an active drug. We started off in 2020 testing two drugs, trazodone and memantine. In April, we added a third drug to the repertoire: amantadine. We're continuing to gather data on trazodone and memantine, so it's important that people already on the trial continue to take their assigned medicine. In a few months' time we will reach the next predefined interim analysis point, when we'll have an opportunity to analyse the data. This will tell us whether we should continue testing trazodone and memantine, or, if one or both are shown to be ineffective, they can be dropped from the trial after the interim analysis. Find out about our trial drugs.


MND-SMART is led by the Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neuron Disease Research at the University of Edinburgh. The Euan MacDonald Centre is a network of MND clinical professionals and scientists across Scotland.

If you'd like to hear more about MND-SMART, please follow us on Twitter @mndsmart and sign up to receive a 6-monthly e-newsletter.


This article was published on: Thursday, 1 June, 2023