The Brave Dreams trial (NCT01371760) involved 115 people between 18 and 65 years old with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, or RRMS. Conducted at six MS centers, the trial’s main goal was to see if angioplasty would increase blood flow from patients’ brains and spinal cords.
Doctors performed angioplasty on 76 patients. Thirty-nine patients served as a control group, with doctors inserting a catheter in their blood vessels, but no balloon.
Researchers followed the two groups for 12 months. They performed MRI scans on the patients at six and 12 months to check for new or enlarged brain lesions.
No serious adverse events occurred with either procedure, researchers said.
Doctors were able to restore blood flow in 54 percent of the angioplasty group, but it failed to improve their functioning. The two groups had similar measures of balance, dexterity, vision, and ability to walk. There were also no differences in the amount of urine left in patients’ bladder after they had urinated.
The percentage of angioplasty patients who failed to develop new brain lesions was higher than in the control group, but the difference was small. Researchers called for more studies on the matter.