The Neurological Clinical Research Institute (NCRI) imaging team of scientists recently developed a method of measuring the brain’s inflammation in people who have ALS, which is a significant sign of progress in imaging biomarker research.
Using PET imaging, the researchers scanned the first live ALS patient to determine the amount of inflammation in the brain.
The goal of the research was to create biomarkers to help them diagnose and measure ALS and its progress.
“This is an exciting milestone towards the goal of developing the imaging approach as a readout for inflammation, a critical tool to expedite clinical trials,” Lucie Bruijn, chief scientist for The ALS Association, said. “The study plans to enroll 50 ALS patients and 50 healthy volunteers, and we hope to be able to clearly characterize the role of inflammation in people living with ALS.”
The study received funds from The ALS Finding A Cure (ALSFAC) Foundation and the ALS Association. The scientists were based at Houston Methodist Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and GE Healthcare.
“Inflammation is an important target for ALS drug development, and we believe imaging inflammation may allow us to design and conduct efficient ALS clinical trials and will accelerate the pace of ALS drug discovery,” Nazem Atassi, primary investigator of the study, said. “This important milestone was only possible through close partnership between the study teams at the NCRI, MGH molecular imaging team, Houston Methodist Hospital and GE Healthcare.”