Clinical Trial Recruiting for Rehab in MS

Do you qualify for a clinical trial for MS? 

Supervised vs Tele-rehab Exercise Program for People with MS (STEP for MS) is recruiting participants to study in person rehabilitation vs tele-rehabilitation exercise programs.  The potential results could be a game changer for people with MS to exercise safely and effectively at home rather than struggle with travel to a center, visit costs and the other obstacles to in person therapy. 

Click HERE for the study requirements.  

Participants must live close to one of the study sites and fall within a specific EDSS range.  

Demonstrating the value of in person exercise vs tele-rehab can impact access to care, including proof to payers of the value. 

Click HERE to read a story that MS News Today published in January for STEP For MS that shares more information. 


If you are between the ages of 18 and 65 years and you have Multiple Sclerosis you may qualify if you:
Can walk but you have some difficulty, with or without a device
Do not exercise regularly
Have not had a relapse in the past month
Can commit to train 2 times a week for 16 weeks
Can drive to study site for assessments and potentially for exercise training
Have reliable internet access

Seven study locations
Participants must be able to travel to site twice/week for 16 weeks:
Shepherd Center, Atlanta, Georgia
University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
University of Alabama, Birmingham
Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio
Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconson
University of Colorado, Denver

Interview with Dr. Backus 

“We are looking for 500 participants across all seven sites,” explained Deborah Backus, a well-known and highly respected researcher in the field of MS therapy, and is one of the  STEP For MS principal investigators, along with Dr. Motl.  

“They need to live within area of site in order to do assessment.”  

The goal of the study is to disseminate info and share with those who are not close to MS centers.  

“If we can show tele-rehab is just as effective as in a facility, then we have what we need to support those with MS, insurers, HCP, and break down barriers to accessibility,” Backus said.    

Participants need to be able to walk but have problems walking.  They should be slow on timed 25 foot walk test and currently not be exercising. Can be walking with a cane, walker, and limited but must go 25 feet. In terms of EDSS they are looking for scores between 4.5 - 6.5.  

The process includes a phone interview, detailed questions and an initial screening process 

The programme is two times per week for 16 weeks, with easy sessions taking 1-2 hours, 

Participants will receive material on how to do the exercise and coaching sessions to start out then these sessions will dwindle down to create a self-sustainable program. 

The trial will take a couple years to finish but Backus shared a recent success stories:   “I fell and actually could get up,” said one participant.  “I’m stronger and have created an exercise room to keep it up!”  Interestingly, this participant was hesitant and didn’t want to continue the program.  She is now! 

Exercise intervention has been evaluated before - guidelines developed for people with MS.  Dr. Robert Motl took these guidelines (GEMS) and combined them with behavioral coaching to create this program.  Smaller trials saw its effectiveness and now researchers are doing a larger trial.  

“All we want to do is help people,” stated Backus.  

“If we can change EDSS and give them options to be healthier, this is going to make an IMPACT!” 

“Patients will get stronger while building self-efficacy and confidence,” said Backus, “They will  learn to overcome barriers of those with MS.”
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