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Budde Lab

Dr. Matthew Budde

The mission of our collaborative research group is to improve care and outcomes for patients with injury and diseases affecting the spinal cord. Our contribution to this goal has focused on developing and employing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a tool to understand spinal cord biology and pathology. MRI is routinely used in the clinical setting for diagnosis and prognosis, and we have used its translational value to bridge the gap between preclinical animal studies and human clinical research.

We have principally focused on two techniques: diffusion and perfusion MRI. Diffusion MRI can be used to detect microscopic damage that is often invisible or difficult to interpret using conventional MRI scans. Using a variety of other experimental methods such as animal studies, histology, and computational simulations helped us develop new diffusion MRI methods to very clearly reveal microscopic damage to the spinal cord. We have recently translated these advances to studies of acute SCI trauma patients. A complementary technique, perfusion MRI, is able to measure blood flow in the spinal cord. Although cord perfusion is believed to be critical to recovery, the technologies available to detect and measure spinal cord perfusion have not been reliable and, therefore, it has not been used routinely. We developed perfusion MRI in preclinical experiments to clearly detect the extent of blood flow deficits and are also actively working to translate the same technology to patients. Collectively, we believe our research will contribute to the discovery of better treatment options available to patients and are grateful to our sources of funding: National Institutes of Health, Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, Department of Defense, and MCW Center for Imaging Research.

Ongoing Studies

Noninvasive Spinal Cord Perfusion Techniques with MRI
This project seeks to develop techniques to monitor perfusion of the spinal cord noninvasively with MRI. Blood flow and perfusion of the injured spinal cord is believed to be an important feature for diagnosis and management of the acutely injured cord, but the ability to detect in patients is limited. This study will first develop and optimize MRI methods for spinal cord perfusion in a preclinical model and relate the detected features with axonal injury and neurologic outcomes. The overarching goal is to improve the care and outcomes in patients with SCI.
Funding: National Institutes of Health
Monitoring Early Acute Therapeutic Responses with MRI in Preclinical Spinal Cord Injury
The goal of this study and its value to spinal cord injury research is to establish a rigorous and clinically-relevant translational paradigm with integrated biomarkers into preclinical therapy testing.  We will examine whether acute MRI markers of injury, including diffusion and perfusion MRI, are capable of detecting the effects of proven pharmacologic and surgical therapies in a preclinical model.  The overarching goal is to provide clinical management teams and clinical trials with markers to gauge the efficacy of interventions.
Funding: Department of Defense
Advanced MRI of the Injured Human Spinal Cord
This project will utilize advanced MRI markers of spinal cord damage in patients with acute human spinal cord injury with the goal of predicting neurological outcome. SCI is a heterogeneous injury and our prior work in preclinical models demonstrated a specialized type of diffusion MRI that has high sensitivity to axonal injury, the pathological features most associated with neurological dysfunction. The goal of this project is to identify improved diagnostic imaging markers of spinal cord injury and outcomes to improve patient care and refine clinical trials.
Funding: Craig H. Neilsen Foundation and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

Recent Publications