The vitamin D MS Prevention Trial – 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.

This is a Phase IIb randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled trial testing a range of doses of oral vitamin D supplements in people with a first episode of symptoms that may be a precursor to MS (known as clinically isolated syndrome or CIS). This might include symptoms such as blurred vision (optic neuritis) or limb weakness (transverse myelitis) (these symptoms may also be described as a first demyelinating event).

The trial will test whether vitamin D supplements can delay or prevent a second episode, or attack, which would lead to a diagnosis of MS. It also tests the appropriate dosage levels and safety.

The need for the vitamin D MS prevention 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 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 Steering Committee

A team 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 is coordinated and funded by MS Australia. This has been made possible by generous support from our MS state/territory MS organisations, particularly, WA, Queensland and Tasmania, as well as Foundation 5 Million+, the Trish MS Research Foundation, and the John T Reid Trust.

Together with the Steering Committee, chaired by Professor Bill Carroll from the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, a collaborative team of neurologists, led by Professor Helmut Butzkueven from the University of Melbourne, and Professor Bruce Taylor, Menzies Institute for Medical Research, Hobart, will undertake this study across 18 sites in Australia and New Zealand.

The Timeline

The vitamin D MS Prevention Trial commenced recruitment in June 2013. The trial aims to enrol 240 people with CIS. It is expected the trial will be complete in 2019. The trial 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.

State Location Site Investigator Study Coordinator
(Click for Email)
Contact Number
NSW Sydney Save Sight Institute Dr Clare Fraser Amanda Dinh 02 9382 7386
NSW Newcastle John Hunter Hospital Associate Professor Jeannette Lechner-Scott Nicole Lingard 02 4921 3540
NSW Sydney Brain and Mind Centre Dr Todd Hardy Marinda Taha 02 9351 0730
VIC Geelong Geelong Hospital Dr Cameron Shaw Sharon Jones 03 4215 0710
VIC Melbourne Royal Melbourne Hospital Associate Professor Tomas Kalincik Lisa Taylor 03 9342 7061
VIC Melbourne Box Hill Hospital Professor Helmut Butzkueven Maria Sakkas 03 9095 2447
VIC Melbourne Austin Health Professor Richard Macdonell Melanie McMurtrie 03 9496 5529
VIC Melbourne Monash Neurology Associate Professor Ernie Butler Wendy Hayes 03 9594 3051
VIC Melbourne Alfred Health Professor Helmut Butzkueven Janene Richards 03 9903 8652
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 Virginia Gehrke 07 3721 1524
SA Adelaide Calvary Wakefield Hospital Associate Professor Andrew Lee Paul Stockle 08 8132 0494
WA Perth Perron Institute Professor William Carroll Susan Walters 08 6457 0209
TAS Hobart Royal Hobart Hospital Professor Bruce Taylor Bruce Taylor 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 Ruth Mylcreest 02 154 9778
NZ Wellington Wellington Hospital Dr David Abernethy Liz Goode 04 806 0078

PrevANZ Steering Committee

Professor Anne-Louise Ponsonby – Murdoch Children’s Research Institute,VIC

Professor Bruce Taylor – Menzies Institute for Medical Research, TAS

Dr Deborah Mason – New Zealand Brain Research Institute, Christchurch, NZ

Professor Helmut Butzkueven – Monash University, VIC

Professor Robyn Lucas – Australian National University, ACT

Professor Simon Broadley – Griffith University, QLD

Professor William Carroll – Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, WA

Professor Jeannette Lechner-Scott – Hunter Medical Research Institute, NSW

Dr Keith Dear – Australian National University, ACT

Dr Mark Stein – Royal Melbourne Hospital, VIC

Professor Michael Barnett – Brain and Mind Research Institute, The University of Sydney, NSW

Professor Peter Mitchell – The University of Melbourne, VIC

Professor Trevor Kilpatrick – Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, VIC

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Vitamin D MS Prevention Trial – PrevANZ