Positron Emission Tomography to Characterize in vivo Neuroinflammation in the Spinal Cord in People with ALS

Study Purpose:

This study is being conducted to learn more about inflammation in the spinal cord and brain of people with ALS. Inflammation is being assessed using simultaneous magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET).

Study Status:

Not recruiting


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) , Familial ALS , Sporadic ALS , Healthy Volunteer

Study Type:


Type of Intervention:


Intervention Name:






Study Chair(s)/Principal Investigator(s):

Suma Babu, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital

Clinicaltrials.gov ID:

Neals Affiliated?


Coordinating Center Contact Information

Massachusetts General Hospital

Austin Lewis / email hidden; JavaScript is required / 617-724-7928

165 Cambridge Street
Boston, Massachusetts, 02114 United States

Full Study Summary:

Massachusetts General Hospital is seeking individuals to participate in a brain and spinal cord imaging research study enrolling under the direction of Suma Babu, MD. This study is being done to learn more about changes in the spinal cord and brain in ALS. “Microglia” are a type of immune cell that we are particularly interested in. We would like to find out if microglia are activated in the spinal cord and brain of individuals with ALS. Special imaging techniques are now available to test for changes in microglia. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) are two tests that allow us to take pictures and “look inside” the body without surgery. MR-PET scanners use both MRI and PET tests at the same time. The MR-PET scanner may give clearer images and more information about the inside of the body. If you choose to take part in this study you may have 5 visits at MGH, up to 3 months apart. We will pay you $150 for completion of the spinal cord MR-PET scan. If you choose to participate in the optional brain MR-PET scan you will be paid an additional $50 for completion.

Study Sponsor:

ALS Finding a Cure

Participant Duration:

2 visits over 3 months

Estimated Study Start Date:

11 / 23 / 2016

Estimated Study Completion Date:

05 / 16 / 2017

Posting Last Modified Date:

02 / 08 / 2021

Date Study Added to neals.org:

12 / 08 / 2016

What participants may be asked to do

Simultaneous magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET)

Study activities may include:

  • Blood draw
  • Injection or IV
  • MRI Scan
  • PET Scan

What participants may get

Participants will be reimbursed for parking and up to $200 for completing all imaging components.

For more information, please visit https://clinicaltrials.partners.org/study/10104

Minimum Age:


Maximum Age:


Can participants use Riluzole?


Participants should be 18-80 years old, safe to undergo MRI (no magnetic or electrically powered implants), and able to comfortably lay flat for over an hour.

Massachusetts General Hospital

Boston, Massachusetts 02114
United States