A Study to Evaluate Traditional Versus Early Aggressive Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis Patients


About this study

The purpose of this study is to evaluate, jointly and independently among patients deemed at higher risk vs. lower risk for disability accumulation, whether an "early aggressive" therapy approach, versus starting with a traditional, first-line therapy, influences the intermediate-term risk of disability, and to evaluate if, among patients deemed at lower risk for disability who start on first-line MS therapies but experience breakthrough disease, those who switch to a higher-efficacy versus a new first-line therapy have different intermediate-term risk of disability.FDA-approved multiple sclerosis (MS) disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) target the relapsing phase of MS but have minimal impact once the progressive phase has begun. It is unclear if, in the relapsing phase, there is an advantage of early aggressive therapy with respect to preventing long-term disability. The infectious risks and other complications associated with higher-efficacy treatments highlight the need to quantify their effectiveness in preventing disability. The TRaditional versus Early Aggressive Therapy for MS (TREAT-MS) trial is a pragmatic, randomized controlled trial that has two primary aims:

Participation eligibility

Participant eligibility includes age, gender, type and stage of disease, and previous treatments or health concerns. Guidelines differ from study to study, and identify who can or cannot participate. There is no guarantee that every individual who qualifies and wants to participate in a trial will be enrolled. Contact the study team to discuss study eligibility and potential participation.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Meets 2017 McDonald criteria for relapsing-remitting MS [patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) are not eligible].
  • Must be EITHER John Cunningham (JC) virus antibody negative or low positive (index antibody titer <0.9), OR negative for: Hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis. 
  • HIV negative. 
  • No chemotherapy in past year; if patient has prior history of chemotherapy or malignancy, documentation in chart explaining why potential risks of higher-efficacy therapy are justified.

Exclusion Criteria: 

  • Prior treatment with rituximab, ocrelizumab, alemtuzumab, mitoxantrone or cladribine .
  • Prior treatment with any other MS DMT for more than 6 months. 
  • Prior treatment with experimental aggressive therapies (e.g., T-cell vaccine, total lymphoid radiation, stem cells).
  • Treatment with teriflunomide within past 2 years (even for ≤ 6 months), unless rapid wash out done (i.e., with cholestyramine or activated charcoal).
  • Treatment in the past 6 months with any MS DMT. 
  • Prior treatment with any other investigational immune-modulating /suppressing drug for MS not listed above.
  • Pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • Women of child-bearing age who are planning or strongly considering conception during the study time frame.

Participating Mayo Clinic locations

Study statuses change often. Please contact the study team for the most up-to-date information regarding possible participation.

Mayo Clinic Location Status Contact

Rochester, Minn.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

William Tobin, M.B., B.Ch., B.A.O., Ph.D.

Open for enrollment

Contact information:

Melissa Bush

(507) 538-5418


More information


Publications are currently not available

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