In 2010, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) funded a 5-year, multi-million-dollar research grant to investigate the potential of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to noninvasively monitor disease progression in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The study, known as “ImagingDMD” was a joint effort between researchers at the University of Florida (UF), The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), and Shriners Hospital for Children-Portland. Dr. Krista Vandenborne of UF, the study’s director along with Dr. Lee Sweeney of UF, the study’s co-Director, are leading a national group of experts in this effort.
After the initial 5-year grant award, the study was renewed twice as ImagingNMD’s imaging techniques and knowledge of neuromuscular disease continued to advance. During this time, ImagingNMD had also grown into one of the most comprehensive natural history studies in DMD and serves as a valuable resource for the DMD community. ImagingNMD now shares primary functional and demographics and MRI/MRS derived data from arm and leg muscles in DMD patients and matching controls to facilitate the design of further research trials.
Interest within the clinical trial community peaked as they became aware of ImagingNMD’s expertise in imaging within the DMD population (with expansion into other neuromuscular diseases) and the potential of the developed MR measures as biomarkers for disease progression. ImagingNMD was eventually approached and contracted by several pharmaceutical sponsors to provide and manage MR imaging services in their clinical trials. Now, our services range from expert consultation on protocol design, to implementation and management of data collection at specialized sites throughout the world, and refined quality control and analysis methods using custom proven algorithms for reliable and precise results.