Dr K Hollingsworth – STSM report

Kieren Hollingsworth, United Kingdom

Short term scientific mission report – COST-STSM-BM1304-20697 

Dr Kieren Hollingsworth hosted by Dr Hermien Kan, Leiden University

I undertook a Short Term Scientific Mission to Leiden University between 20th-24th October 2014 with four aims:

(i) WG2: For KGH to learn about Leiden’s work on the use of 31P at 3T and 7T to determine early alterations in neuromuscular disease, and decide whether a SOP would be worthwhile in this area. I was able to attend data acquisition of 31P spectrosoopy (at resting state, under exercise stimulation, and diffusion weighted spectroscopy) in skeletal muscle at 7T, and diffusion weighted brain 1H MRS in DMD at 3T. I had the opportunity to examine the specialised coils used for this and learn about the detailed procedures needed for the acquisition and analysis of 31P spectroscopy at this field strength. While it remains unclear at this stage whether a SOP for 7T 31P spectro would be valuable, there are some novel features of the excellent practice in acquisition and anaylsis of MRS at Leiden to discuss with WG2.

(ii) WG2: To discuss the present best practice of Leiden and Newcastle in neuromuscular trials involving MRI, and discuss which alterations to the previous TREAT-NMD SOPs should be discussed by WG2. I attended quantitative MRI performed at 3T on both Becker and Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients. I discussed the Leiden methods of quantifying fat fraction in skeletal muscle and T2 relaxation time on the modern Philips Ingenia scanner with the research fellows and students carrying out and analysing the work. The Leiden approach concentrates on obtaining the highest quality data from one leg rather than both, and this important point needs to be fed into the WG2 discussion about SOPs. The opportunity to learn about the ground-breaking Leiden work on B1-corrected whole body imaging at 3T was particularly valuable.

(iii) WG3: To disseminate knowledge from KGH’s work on acceleration technologies to reduce the burden and cost of scanning. I gave a seminar to the MR research group on the first afternoon of my STSM detailing my work on scan acceleration in skeletal muscle in Becker muscular dystrophy. Working with Dr Jedrek Burakiewicz, I ran some initial phantom and skeletal muscle tests on the LUMC 3T scanners (using both Achieva and newer Ingenia scanner configurations) to determine how best a collaborative scan acceleration protocol might work between Newcastle and Leiden. An initial examination of the data suggests a high level of compatability and means that collaborative work in this area is feasible. Futher analysis will be carried out. I also had the opportunity to discuss with faculty and postdocs at Leiden how acceleration technology might best be deployed in neuromuscular protocols.

(iv) WG2: To explore the possibility of collaborative grant applications. Having had the opportunity to see the structure of the Gorter centre at first hand, met its principal investigators, postdocs and PhD students, I now have a good understanding of the necessary shape and structure of a collaborative funding application in the Netherlands. Initial ideas were discussed and will be pursued.

October 2014