Launch of the world’s first multiple sclerosis image database

3D segmentation of multiple sclerosis “lesions” (red) from a patient with relapsing remitting disease. Credit for the images: Dr Tim Wang / SNAC

The world’s leading repository for organized and depersonalized MRI scans of the brains of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) is now available to researchers worldwide, heralding a new era in real-world collaborative clinical imaging research in the field .

The resource, co-developed by the Brain and Mind Center at the University of Sydney, with MSBase and the Sydney Neuroimaging Analysis Center (SNAC), has the potential to advance MS research, in particular by working towards earlier diagnosis and monitoring of disease progression.

Under development for 18 months, the new comprehensive imaging platform MSBase – the world’s largest clinical registry of MS patients with more than 75,000 patients.

The new MSBase Imaging Repository (MSBIR) integrates state-of-the-art computing with an AI analysis engine, promoting a new generation of imaging biomarkers for precision MS surveillance. It is designed to securely host depersonalized raw imaging data for MS patients from multiple locations around the world, accessible by registered contributing research groups, bringing capacity and scalability to clinical imaging research on MS.

Professor Michael Barnett, the University’s project leader in the Brain and Mind Center’s computational neuroimaging team, said MSBIR will globalize efforts to advance and accelerate real-world clinical imaging research in the SEP.

“Imaging biomarkers support previous diagnoses and this is the first time that MS imaging data has been coordinated at this scale.” said Professor Barnett.

“MSBIR will dramatically improve real-world imaging research for MS, provide participating investigators with quantitative AI-based MRI measurements, and facilitate advanced multicentre research in previously impossible imaging of MS.

“Research takes great strides forward when we collaborate – MSBIR is globalizing our efforts to advance and accelerate real-world clinical imaging research in the field of MS.

MSBase Foundation Fellow, Dr Heidi Beadnall of the Faculty of Medicine and Health worked on the development of the MSBIR platform with Professor Barnett and a collaborative team of imaging scientists and engineers at the Brain and Mind Center .

“The MSBIR platform has enormous potential to provide MS researchers with considerably greater access to large volumes of imaging data,” said Dr Beadnall.


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