Vitamin D MS Prevention Trial - PrevANZ


PrevANZ is a world-first clinical trial that will test whether vitamin D supplementation can prevent MS in those at risk of developing the disease. The Phase IIb randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled trial will focus on the possibility of using vitamin D supplementation to prevent a diagnosis of MS following a person’s presentation with a first episode of symptoms that may be a precursor to MS, such as blurred vision (optic neuritis) or limb weakness (transverse myelitis) (these symptoms may be described as a first demyelinating event, or clinically isolated syndrome (CIS). PrevANZ will also test appropriate dosage levels and safety.

The need for the PrevANZ trial has arisen from a now significant body of evidence for the role that vitamin D deficiency plays in MS. However, to date there has not been a clinical trial conducted to provide the necessary evidence on the benefits that can be expected from vitamin D supplementation or the correct dose.

MS Research Australia and our colleagues in the MS research community see this trial as a high priority and an area in which the expertise in Australia and New Zealand can contribute significantly to the prevention and better treatment of MS globally.

The PrevANZ Team

A steering committee of clinicians and researchers from Australia and New Zealand, with expertise in MS neurology, MS clinical trials, endocrinology and epidemiology has been assembled to oversee the trial. The trial will be coordinated and funded by MS Research Australia. This has been made possible by generous support from the state MS organisations, particularly, WA, QLD and Tasmania, as well as Foundation 5 Million+, the Trish MS Research Foundation, and the John T Reid Trust.

A collaborative team of neurologists, lead by Professor Helmut Butzkueven from the Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, and Professor Bruce Taylor, Menzies Institute for Medical Research, will undertake this study across 20 sites in Australia and New Zealand.

PrevANZ Timeline

PrevANZ commenced recruitment in June 2013. The trial aims to enrol 240 patients with CIS. The expected completion date is 2019. PrevANZ will test 3 dosage levels of daily oral vitamin D3 supplements (1000, 5000 & 10,000 International Units) against placebo (dummy tablets).


The role of vitamin D in MS

The evidence for the role of vitamin D deficiency in MS is now very strong and was reinforced by the internationally important Australian study (Ausimmune, 2004-2007), comparing MS patients in with CIS in Brisbane, Newcastle, Geelong and Hobart. Vitamin D deficiency is thought to play a role in MS since geographical areas of lower levels of UV radiation, and hence lower vitamin D synthesis in the skin, have higher incidences of MS. Variations in genes involved in the vitamin D metabolism pathway have been implicated in susceptibility to MS and vitamin D deficiency has also been shown to be associated with a higher rate of relapses in people with established MS.

Taking part in the PrevANZ trial

People with CIS who are interested in taking part should discuss participation with their neurologist. The sites for the trial are listed below. Full details of the trial, including eligibility criteria for participants can be found here

Please note people who have already been diagnosed with MS are not eligible to participate in the trial. People with MS who are concerned about their vitamin D levels should seek advice from their GP or neurologist.

PrevANZ trial sites:

State Location Site Investigator Study Coordinator
(Click for Email)
Contact Number
NSW Sydney Save Sight Institute Dr Clare Fraser Amanda Dinh

02 9382 7300 


NSW Newcastle John Hunter Hospital A/Professor Jeannette Lechner-Scott Nicole Lingard

02 4042 0310

NSW Sydney Brain Mind Research Institute Dr Michael Barnett Marinda Taha

02 9351 0730

VIC Geelong Geelong Hospital Dr Cameron Shaw Sharon Jones

03 4215 0710

VIC Melbourne Royal Melbourne Hospital Professor Helmut Butzkueven Lisa Taylor

03 9342 7061

VIC Melbourne Box Hill Hospital Professor Helmut Butzkueven Keely McMahon

03 9095 2426

VIC Melbourne Austin Health Professor Richard Macdonell Melanie McMurtrie 03 9496 3705
VIC Melbourne Monash Neurology A/Professor Ernie Butler Wendy Hayes or Michelle Allan

03 9871 0997

QLD Gold Coast Griffith University/Gold Coast Hospital Professor Simon Broadley Sofia Jimenez Sanchez

07 5678 0750


QLD Brisbane Wesley Research Institute Professor Pam McCombe

Tracey Grierson

07 3721 1526

SA Adelaide Calvary Wakefield Hospital Dr Andrew Lee Paul Stockle

08 8132 0494

WA Perth Australian Neuromuscular Research Institute Professor William Carroll Susan Walters

08 9346 3980

TAS Hobart Royal Hobart Hospital Professor Bruce Taylor Sue McGregor

03 6222 8323

NZ Auckland Auckland Hospital Dr Ernie Willoughby Roddi Laurence

09 307 4949 Ext 25816

NZ Christchurch Christchurch Hospital Dr Deborah Mason Jane Eagle

03 378 6130

NZ Dunedin Dunedin Hospital Dr John Mottershead Sharon Stevenson-Hall

03 470 0999

NZ Waikato Waikato Hospital Dr Chris Lynch Linda Gilbertson

02 154 9778

NZ Wellington Wellington Hospital Dr David Abernethy Imogen Milner

04 385 5999

PrevANZ Steering Committee

  • Professor William Carroll, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth
  • Professor Helmut Butzkueven, University of Melbourne
  • Professor Bruce Taylor, Menzies Institute for Medical Research
  • Professor Anne-Louise Ponsonby, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Melbourne
  • Professor Simon Broadley, Griffith University, Queensland
  • Dr Deborah Mason, New Zealand Brain Research Institute, Christchurch, NZ
  • Dr Robyn Lucas, Australian National University, Canberra
  • Dr Keith Dear, Australian National University, Canberra
  • Dr Mark Stein, Royal Melbourne Hospital
  • Professor Peter Mitchell, Royal Melbourne
  • Professor Trevor Kilpatrick, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Melbourne
  • Associate Professor Jeannette Lechner-Scott, Hunter Medical Research Institute, Newcastle
  • Associate Professor Michael Barnett, Brain and Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney