MRI Biomarkers of Cerebral Degeneration in ALS and their Pathological Validation
A biological marker, or “biomarker” for short, is a measurable indicator associated with a disease state that helps determine risk, severity and response to therapy. Today, biomarkers are being incorporated into an increasing number of clinical trials. They can help advance drug development by providing researchers a way to monitor disease progression and by helping to identify and enroll people who are most likely to respond to a new treatment. In comparison to clinical trials that include people with many disease variations in one group, enrolling only those likely to respond can help researchers discover whether a therapy works in a faster and more effective way.
Validated biomarkers for ALS are urgently needed to help researchers develop a path to unique treatments for each person living with ALS. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has emerged as a promising source of non-invasive biomarkers for ALS. Abdullah Ishaque, working with his PhD supervisor Dr. Sanjay Kalra, has recently developed two imaging biomarkers called texture analysis (TA) and quantitative T2 (qT2) mapping. TA measures subtle patterns and relationships in brain images and qT2 allows researchers to evaluate degeneration in the brain by analyzing water content, iron content, demyelination (damage to the outer protective covering of motor neurons) and inflammation.
Abdullah Ishaque , University of Alberta
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ALS Society of Canada