This project focuses on the development and validation of a clinically-feasible quantitative magnetization transfer (qMT) MRI protocol for imaging patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). This objective will be achieved using a combination of innovative imaging and data reconstruction approaches. The protocol will be used to measure the ability of qMT biomarkers to predict clinical disability and lesion evolution and to allow early detection of pathology. We will study twenty three RRMS patients and obtain advanced, quantitative MRI scans 3 times during the period of 2 years. The analysis of quantitative parameters in neural tissues will be accomplished both globally and locally in specific white matter tracts identified by diffusion tensor imaging. At the time of each scan, the patient’s clinical disability will be assessed and recorded. Both local and global qMT measures will then be tested for correlation with clinical measures. Additionally, we will analyze longitudinal changes in lesions visible on T2-weighted FLAIR and T1-weighted scans with and without contrast-enhancement; specifically, if new lesions appear at the second or third time points, we will test the corresponding locations on baseline qMT maps to determine whether local qMT abnormalities are able to detect nascent lesions prior to their appearance on conventional MRI. We will thus learn whether MS lesions can be detected earlier than currently possible using conventional approaches.
June 2012 to July 2014
This project led by: Alexey Samsonov, PhD