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Cedars-Sinai Neuroimaging Expert Wins Young Investigator Award

Researcher Brian Renner, MD, Is Recognized for His Presentation on a Possible New Multiple Sclerosis Biomarker

Brian Renner, MD, a research associate in the Neuroimaging Program in the Department of Neurology at Brian Renner, MDCedars-Sinai, was honored with the Young Investigator Award for Best Oral Presentation at the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) annual forum in February. The award is given to one research scientist, resident or fellow under age 40 presenting at each conference.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, creating lesions visible on MRI scans. Because other conditions can create similar lesions, MS is often misdiagnosed.

Renner presented an abstract on a multisite study to investigate a possible new biomarker called paramagnetic rim lesions (PRL), a radiological finding that could help clinicians more accurately diagnose MS patients.

“Our study found that the PRL is very good at differentiating people who have MS from people who do not have MS,” Renner said. “And its sensitivity in identifying people with MS is also quite high. More investigation is needed, but this could be a very useful biomarker.”

Renner credited his mentor, Pascal Sati, PhD, director of the Neuroimaging Program and associate professor of Neurology, with supervising his research work and helping him prepare for the presentation. “I got up on stage with full confidence,” Renner said. “Afterward, people were coming up and proposing collaborations and asking for more information about our data.”

This was the second ACTRIMS conference and first podium speech for Renner, who joined Cedars-Sinai inPascal Sati, PhD January 2020. The study is part of a series investigating novel MS biomarkers.

“Dr. Renner is a true asset to our neuroimaging team and couldn’t have done a better job in conducting and presenting this research,” Sati said. “We look forward to publishing these exciting findings that will help improve diagnosis and guide development of new therapies for MS patients.”

Improving patient outcomes is the motivation behind the entire Cedars-Sinai neuroimaging program, said Nancy Sicotte, MD, chair of the Department of Neurology and the Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Program, and Women’s Guild Distinguished Chair in Neurology.

“We’ve made wonderful strides thanks to our neuroimaging research team,” Sicotte said. “In the future we’re very hopeful that this work will allow us to make diagnoses of serious neurological illnesses like MS very confidently, early on.”

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Faces of Cedars-Sinai: Neurologist Dr. Marwa Kaisey