Neuroimmunology Program - IDIBAPS

Predictive MRI biomarkers of treatment response in MS

¿What does it consist of?

It is a longitudinal and prospective study with multiple sclerosis patients to find biomarkers of response to first-line treatments (interferon beta and glatiramer acetate). Advanced MRI techniques sensitive to inflammation, demyelination and neurodegeneration will be combined with clinical and cerebrospinal fluid data to predict the response to treatments. This study involves technological development in order to increase the applicability and reliability of MRI techniques, including diffusion tensor imaging, tractography, structural connectivity, spectroscopy and spinal cord imaging.

We aim to find useful tools to predict treatment response. Predicting treatment response in multiple sclerosis would help clinicians and patients to individualize and decide the best therapeutic scheme for a given patient.

¿What are the results until now?

We have improved the techniques to reconstruct white matter tracts in the brain (tractography). Moreover, we have applied this methodological improvement in the analysis of brain connectivity. We identified strategic networks, including frontoparietal networks, deep grey nuclei and insula, that are critical to maintain attention and executive functions in multiple sclerosis patients. We also identified increased connectivity of some networks, supporting the presence of brain plasticity changes.

The main objective of the study, that is to evaluate the ability of MRI biomarkers to predict treatment response, will be assessed in the near future when the recruitment and follow-up of all patients are finished.