Brain Canada Brain Canada
FR Donate

Novel MRI biomarkers for monitoring disease progression in ALS

Principal Investigator:
  • Sanjay Kalra, University of Alberta
Team Members:
  • Christian Beaulieu, University of Alberta
  • Hannah Briemberg, University of British Columbia
  • Nicolas Dupré, CRCHUQ-Enfant-Jesus, University Laval
  • Dean Eurich, University of Alberta
  • Angela Genge, McGill University
  • Lawrence Korngut, University of Calgary
  • Christen Shoesmith, University of Western Ontario
  • Herb Yang, University of Alberta
  • Lorne Zinman, Sunnybrook Research Institute
  • ALS Society of Canada

Project Overview

For this project Dr. Sanjay Kalra and his team aims to improve on current techniques to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a readily available way to examine if a potential new treatment is working to slow down progression of ALS. Preliminary work by Dr. Kalra has revealed that using specialized computational methods to examine the texture (smooth vs. rough, normal vs. abnormal) of the brain with 3D MRI scans can reveal subtle changes that are not detectable with conventional images and a trained eye. By establishing a standardized protocol for obtaining and analyzing these images across the 7 centres, recruitment for the study (262 people living with ALS, 262 controls) will not only be hastened, but if successful, each clinic would be equipped to utilize these techniques in parallel with forthcoming clinical trials. Furthermore, the ability to detect these changes with high sensitivity suggests that this method might also be valuable in matching people with the right clinical trials (a very important part of properly assessing new treatments) and possibly even providing an simple test to help diagnose the disease earlier.