MRI to monitor multiple sclerosis patients after stopping therapy


Dr Vivien Li

Royal Melbourne Hospital, VIC

| Better treatments | Neurobiology | Incubator | 2022 | Investigator Led Research |


MS is an autoimmune condition which results in inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. MS most commonly begins with a relapsing-remitting phase (RRMS), with flare-ups of symptoms or ‘relapses’ followed by recovery. Many treatments are available that reduce the chances of relapse, but people living with MS may need to stop or switch treatments due to side effects, ineffectiveness, pregnancy, or if transitioning to progressive MS, where few treatments have proven to be effective. Furthermore, recent research has found people living with MS on certain therapies do not develop a protective immune response following COVID-19 vaccination, meaning they and their doctors could decide to pause therapy to be vaccinated. Balancing potential risks of more relapses or worsening disease without treatment versus problems of continuing therapy can be difficult.  

This research will study how brain inflammation is affected by stopping or pausing treatment using new MRI technologies. People living with MS will have brain scans using a 7-Tesla MRI scanner which has over twice the magnetic strength as scanners available in hospitals, providing better images and more information about disease activity. This will be compared to routine hospital scans to see if smaller and subtler changes of MS activity can be identified, potentially giving clinicians and people living with MS more information to make treatment decisions.  

Updated: 16 August, 2022

Stages of the research process

Fundamental laboratory

Laboratory research that investigates scientific theories behind the possible causes, disease progression, ways to diagnose and better treat MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 10+ years

Research that builds on fundamental scientific research to develop new therapies, medical procedures or diagnostics and advances it closer to the clinic.

Lab to clinic timeline: 5+ years
Clinical Studies
and Clinical Trials

Clinical research is the culmination of fundamental and translational research turning those research discoveries into treatments and interventions for people with MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 1-5 years


Grant Awarded

  • Incubator Grant

Total Funding

  • $24,990


  • 1 year – starting 2022

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Samuel-KlistornerAlistair Govier-Cole

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MRI to monitor multiple sclerosis patients after stopping therapy