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Spinal Cord Injury Center, Research

ImagiNg SPInal cord injury and assessing its pREDictive Value - the INSPIRED study -

Project leader: Prof. Dr. Patrick Freund


INSPIRED: Multicenter cord protocol development


This project aims to implement an advanced quantitative MRI (qMRI) protocol for the brain and spinal cord in traumatic SCI and DCM patients at three international sites (Balgrist University Hospital, Zurich Switzerland, Toronto Western Hospital, Canada; Central MRI center Institute of Neurology, UCL London, UK) on 3 Tesla MRI scanners based on two different vendors.

We will assess sensitivity of specific quantitative measurements to spinal cord damage at all centers to confirm the relevance of each technique for clinical assessment, patient management and ultimately clinical outcome.

Analysis will provide quantitative measures sensitive to lesion size and location, axonal loss through atrophy and diffusion-derived indices, myelin damage through magnetization transfer properties of tissue, all measured at cervical cord level and distally in the brain.

Data will offer great scope for models of progression and further advanced analysis. We setup an acquisition and analysis pipeline with clearly defined standard operating procedures (SOP) that will be the basis for future studies and possible clinical trials, establishing much needed expertise in multi-centre spinal cord imaging.

This study is supported by Wings for Life (WFL-CH-007/14)