IXICO Joins Consortium to Develop New Imaging Markers for FA

IXICO Joins Consortium to Develop New Imaging Markers for FA
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IXICO has entered a five-year collaboration with the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) and joined the TRACK-FA Neuroimaging Consortium, a group of academic and industry partners that are conducting a natural history study focused on tracking brain and spinal cord changes in patients with Friedreich’s ataxia (FA).

The study, called TRACK-FA (NCT04349514), which is not yet recruiting participants, intends to enroll 300 people, including 200 children and adults with FA and 100 individuals without the disease. Enrollment is expected to start before the end of the year.

The main goal of the study is to assess how the brain and spinal cord change over the course of FA in the absence of treatment. This will be evaluated using neuroimaging data extracted from images of the nervous system, acquired by MRI and other imaging technologies at specific time points.

In addition to documenting the impact of FA on the nervous system, TRACK-FA also will attempt to identify and validate neuroimaging biomarkers that can be used in future clinical trials of FA to evaluate disease progression and the effectiveness of new therapies.

IXICO will be supporting the study by implementing novel analysis algorithms that will be used to extract data from patients’ medical images to create new tools that can be used in future trials of FA.

“This new consortium will help to accelerate the quest for new treatments for Friedreich’s Ataxia by bringing together some of the leading researchers in the field from both academia and industry with the specific goal of developing new tools to better understand and characterise this debilitating disease,” Robin Wolz, PhD, senior vice president of Science and Innovation at IXICO, said in a press release.

“IXICO will bring its expertise in neuroimaging and AI [artificial intelligence] to support the development and validation of new biomarkers which in turn will help to identify the most promising treatments and bring these to patients sooner,” Wolz said.

TRACK-FA will be conducted at six academic organizations that also are part of the Neuroimaging Consortium. These include: Monash University in Australia; Aachen University in Germany; the University of Campinas in Brazil; and the University of Minnesota, the University of Florida, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the U.S.

Some industry partners, including FARA, will provide feedback on the study’s design, goals, and monitoring.

“TRACK-FA is a great example of public-private partnership and research advancement in the pre-competitive space. As we all need better tools to understand and measure what is happening in the FA brain and spinal cord, FARA is proud to support this international consortium. The goal of TRACK-FA is to deliver such tools for future clinical trials,” Jennifer Farmer, CEO of FARA, said in another press release.

Marisa holds an MS in Cellular and Molecular Pathology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied novel genetic drivers of ovarian cancer. She specializes in cancer biology, immunology, and genetics. Marisa began working with BioNews in 2018, and has written about science and health for SelfHacked and the Genetics Society of America. She also writes/composes musicals and coaches the University of Pittsburgh fencing club.
Total Posts: 14
Joana holds a BSc in Biology, a MSc in Evolutionary and Developmental Biology and a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal. Her work has been focused on the impact of non-canonical Wnt signaling in the collective behavior of endothelial cells — cells that made up the lining of blood vessels — found in the umbilical cord of newborns.
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Marisa holds an MS in Cellular and Molecular Pathology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied novel genetic drivers of ovarian cancer. She specializes in cancer biology, immunology, and genetics. Marisa began working with BioNews in 2018, and has written about science and health for SelfHacked and the Genetics Society of America. She also writes/composes musicals and coaches the University of Pittsburgh fencing club.
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