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National MS Society and GE Healthcare Join Forces to Fund Unique Imaging Study in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis

October 1, 2013

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society today announced that it has entered into a research collaboration agreement with GE Healthcare through Fast Forward, a not for profit 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. The clinical study, which will be enrolling patients in the United Kingdom, is aimed to aid in physicians’ understanding whether imaging neuroinflammation in MS patients before and after treatment with natalizumab (Tysabri®) can help identify which patients may respond to treatment.

“We are pleased to partner with GE Healthcare in the investigation of this innovative imaging technology for MS,” said Timothy Coetzee, Ph.D., Chief Research Officer of the National MS Society. “This partnership with GE Healthcare reflects our commitment to developing new tools and technologies and supporting treatment decisions in collaboration with people coping with MS. We believe that these types of innovative programs are critical to improving quality of life and may ultimately help us to understand how different therapies are working.”

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 that is 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.

GE Healthcare has taken a comprehensive approach to understanding a variety of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, concussion, traumatic brain injury and multiple sclerosis through its ongoing research. GE Healthcare is working collaboratively with industry partners and the pharmaceutical industry to assist in their development of the next generation of therapies for these disorders, by providing imaging support for clinical trials of therapeutic agents.

Read more about research funded by the National MS Society.

Tysabri is a registered trademark of Biogen Idec.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


© 2020 The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and our Identification Number (EIN) is 13-5661935.