National MS Society, GE Healthcare partner
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is collaborating with GE Healthcare through Fast Forward, a nonprofit subsidiary of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, to co-fund a clinical study with the GE investigational PET tracer, GE180, in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). The clinical study, which will be enrolling patients in the U.K., is aimed to aid in physicians' understanding of whether imaging neuroinflammation in MS patients before and after treatment with natalizumab (Tysabri) can help identify which patients may respond to treatment.
In MS, the immune system damages and destroys myelin, the material that surrounds and protects nerve fibers, in the brain and spinal cord. Research is showing that microglia, a type of immune cell in the brain and spinal cord, becomes active early in MS and participates in MS attacks. GE180 binds to a molecule on the surface of microglia known to be more active following inflammation. A PET scan with GE180 may prove ideal for studying responses to disease-modifying therapies in MS. In addition, this technology may have application in detecting inflammation in progressive forms of MS.