Welcome to the BEAT-MS study
The purpose of the BEAT-MS study is to compare chemotherapy followed by autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant (AHSCT) – a type of bone marrow transplantation – to the most effective medicines regularly used to treat relapsing MS (called BAT for “best available therapy”).
AHSCT replaces the immune cells that are causing MS. It has been shown to improve relapsing MS in patients for whom regular medicines did not work. The treatment involves, first, collecting an individual’s own bone marrow stem cells. Next, these stem cells are then frozen and stored. Then, an individual receives chemotherapy to kill any immune cells. Finally, the stored stem cells are thawed and given back to the patient through an infusion.
Participating in the BEAT-MS study
First, you will have 2 separate screening visits that may take up to 2 months to complete to determine whether you are eligible for participation in the study. If you are eligible and decide to participate, your treatment (AHSCT or BAT) will be randomly assigned (like a coin flip). You will not be able to choose which treatment you will receive.
Once your treatment is randomly assigned, you will begin your treatment (AHSCT or BAT) and be followed by your study neurologist for 6 years. You will see your study neurologist every 6 months and your MS will be monitored. You will also receive telephone calls from study team every month during the first year and then every 6 months for the rest of the study.
If you are assigned to the AHSCT treatment
AHSCT treatment takes about 3 months. A portion of this treatment includes a stay in the hospital. The AHSCT treatment involves several steps that are called mobilization (preparing stem cells for collection), stem cell collection, conditioning (chemotherapy), and transplantation (re-infusion of stem cells). You will be monitored closely for several weeks after the transplant.
If you are assigned to the BAT treatment
Your study neurologist will determine the MS medication among the BAT options you will receive.