Woodridge man joins world-first multiple sclerosis clinical trial

Tim Joseph has been living with MS since 2000. He is taking part in a clinical trial, the first of its kind.

Tim Joseph has been living with MS since 2000. He is taking part in a clinical trial, which he hopes will allow him to continue his passion for 'chariot' driving for as long as he can. - Credit: Event to Event

A Woodbridge man with multiple sclerosis has joined a clinical trial which is the first of its kind ever conducted.

Tim Joseph, 60, has been taking part in the trial since December last year. He is hopeful that the treatment will allow him to continue his passion of carriage – or ‘chariot’ – driving for as long as possible. 

Tim has been living with secondary progressive MS since 2000. 

The aptly named ‘ChariotMS’ trial is testing whether cladribine, a disease-modifying therapy which is already licensed for highly-active relapsing MS, could also be used to slow down the upper limp disability worsening in people with advanced MS. 

To date, clinical trials for MS have not included people reliant on wheelchairs, and drugs have only been licensed if they improve walking ability.  

This makes the ChariotMS trial the first of its kind worldwide. 

Tim said: “I hope the trial will find a treatment that can extend the use I have in my upper limbs. Because if I lose that, I lose my independence.  

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“It would also mean I’d have to give up my ‘chariot’ driving hobby if my upper limbs deteriorate anymore.”  

“I love doing it. We live out in the country and I enjoy being outside. Having control and building a relationship with the horse is a great thing to do.  

Tim Joseph says he loves being outdoors, driving his carriage and building a relationship with his horse. 

Tim Joseph says he loves being outdoors, driving his carriage and building a relationship with his horse. - Credit: Tim Joseph

“I’m hoping ChariotMS will be a big success and the outcome will be a treatment that allows me to continue with this hobby and other day to day activities that we often take for granted.” 

Tim's chariot driving passion began five years ago, when Tim and his wife attended a Riding for the Disabled open day, and he befriended Mike, a professional carriage master. 

Tim said: “We’ve recently bought an old carriage and adapted it so I can easily transfer into it from my wheelchair. Now I drive about once a week.” 

The trial is being led by Professor Klaus Schmierer.

There are currently 20 ChariotMS trial centres opening across the UK. Anyone who thinks they may be eligible should contact their doctor about being referred. 

For more information, visit: www.mssociety.org.uk