Leading the way on International Clinical Trials Day


On International Clinical Trials Day we look at some of the leading neuroscience trials The Walton Centre has been, and currently is, involved in, to improve the treatment and care for patients with neurological and neurosurgical conditions.

At The Walton Centre, there are 82 studies currently open to recruitment, with a further 22 in follow up and 53 in setup. Over 14,000 patients have been recruited to research studies over the past 10 years.

The NERVES trial, led by Consultant Neurosurgeon Mr Martin Wilbey, opened for recruitment in 2015 at The Walton Centre. It compared surgery with nerve root injections for those suffering from sciatica caused by a slipped disc. Sciatica affects 1 in 10 people worldwide. Results published in March 2021 showed that the injections were effective at controlling the sciatica and should be considered as the first line treatment for sciatica cause by a slipped disc without progressive neurological dysfunction.  This study will have a major impact on how sciatica is managed in the future and could potentially speed up treatment of this disabling condition.

The ROAM/1308 study is the world first randomised controlled trial for patients with atypical Meningioma (a very rare type of brain tumour).  Consultant Neurosurgeon Professor Michael Jenkinson led this international study that was open in 60 centres worldwide.  156 patients participated and the study is now closed to recruitment.  Because meningiomas are slower growing tumour long follow-up is needed and the study will not report until 2026, having first opened in 2015.

Brain tumour patients at The Walton Centre are all considered for participation in open trials. The Trust has several large trials open to patients with gliomas, including SPRING, PRaM-GBM, BRAIN MATRIX and FUTURE-GB.  Liverpool is currently the leading recruiting centre for FUTURE-GB and SPRING in the UK.  

The Walton Centre sponsors TONiC, a national study examining the factors that influence quality of life in patients with neurological conditions. It is one of the largest studies on quality of life in neurological conditions ever performed in the UK. We hope that TONiC will have a significant and positive impact on the lives of all patients that suffer from neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease, regardless of symptoms, stage of illness, age or social status.

The MS-STAT2 study being carried out at The Walton Centre aims to confirm if simvastatin, which is currently used to treat high cholesterol, can slow or stop disability progression for people with secondary progressive MS. If so, it has the potential to become one of the first disease modifying therapies for people with secondary progressive MS.

The Walton Centre has an expanding portfolio of trials looking at the effects of curtain drugs on various types of headaches. We were the first trust in the UK to screen a patient for the Progress trial which is looking at the use of a specific treatment for the prevention of chronic migraines.

Another headache study is looking at the effectiveness and safety of Erenumab with patients who are suffering with chronic migraines, and with medication overuse.  We were the third trust in the UK to screen and randomise a patient to this trial. Read more about her story here.

The Walton Centre is currently the top recruiters in the UK for the SOS trial, with eight patients recruited since the trial opened at The Walton Centre in November. The trial is looking at the best treatments for severe brain swelling after head injuries in order to improve outcomes for patients.

Research teams are also launching a new trial in ICU – the Hemotion trial. This trial looks at treatment for traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and the effect of blood transfusion thresholds on neurological functional outcomes. We aim to open the trial on International Clinical Trials Day.