Multiple Sclerose Centrum
Noord Nederland

3. Develop novel neuroimaging protocols that can monitor inflammation, demyelination, remyelination and repair.

The main focus of clinical research at the MSCNN is on improving therapeutic possibilities in progressive MS. The ultimate goal is to restore myelination and repair nerve function in MS. Current research is building the basis to achieve that goal. For instance, our work on myelin-imaging using PET-scans will ultimately result in a tool to more efficiently screen new therapies for their remyelination capacity in MS.


Myelin-PET imaging

Investigators – Kars van der Weijden, Erik de Vries and Jan Meilof

Project: In MS, the myelin layer surrounding the axons of the nerves is damaged, which causes disruption of the nerve conduction and as a consequence the typical MS symptoms like visual problems, muscle weakness, difficulties with coordination, cognition and speech, severe fatigue, and pain. At the moment, there is no neuroimaging technique available that reliably measures myelin damage and repair in people with MS. We have developed a methodology to measure the amount of myelin with the use of the PET scan technology and 11C labeled MeDAS. MeDAS binds specifically to myelin and MeDAS-PET scans have already been shown to reliably measure myelin in animal models for MS. In this project, we will test the suitability of MeDAS-PET scans to measure myelin in the brain and spinal cord of people with (progressive) MS. To examine alterations in myelin over time, the MeDAS-PET scan will be repeated after a year. A regular myelin-PET scan of the brain and spinal cord makes it possible to follow changes in the myelin layer over time. Therefore, this neuroimaging technique will be a very efficient method to test the effect of new drugs on the remyelination process in MS and we anticipate that this screening method will accelerate the development of effective remyelinating therapies.

Supported by NWO (ZonMW) and the Dutch MS Research Foundation