MS-CCSVI Diagnostic Study

On June 11, 2010, the MS Society of Canada selected the BC/SASK collaborative CCSVI research proposal for funding.

This pivotal study will seek to verify Dr. Zamboni's earlier findings on chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI), a hypothisis of a condition he found only in patients with MS and which he did not seen in healthy controls. Dr. Zamboni's belief is that CCSVI may play an important role in the symptoms that affect many MS patients and that treatment of CCSVI could improve their lives.

The goal of the BC/SASK CCSVI study is to verify the condition itself, and the usefulness of non-invasive techniques to screen for CCSVI. This information will be much needed if results from this study, and other research projects being undertaken, confirm that future therapeutic trials are warranted. This study is the only funded project that will use three diagnostic tests to investigate how to image CCSVI. Specifically, we are investigating the use of catheter venography as the "gold standard" to detect CCSVI. This is more comprehensive than ultrasound alone. Both ultrasound and Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the veins (MRV) will be compared to catheter venography to determine which of these tests are adequate and reliable for detecting CCSVI in the near future.

This initial study will recruit 100 MS and 100 non-MS subjects from existing patient rosters at the MS Clinic at UBC Hospital and the Saskatoon MS Clinic. Letters of invitation will be sent to all potentially eligible subjects identified from these rosters by the research team. This will include subjects with twins or family members with confirmed MS. This group of subjects will allow us to verify the condition of CCSVI and to determine if there is a genetic (inherited) link to this condition. While many other patients will want to volunteer, and we thank them for their support, our initial numbers will be limited. We will continue to apply for more funding so that we can better understand CCSVI and MS.

We believe that the BC/SASK CCSVI study will only be the beginning of more research that will benefit people with MS in Canada. Both our teams in Vancouver and in Saskatchewan have applied for grant funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and fundraisers at VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation and UBC Faculty of Medicine Development Office are working with donors to fund this valuable research.

For more information, please follow the headings and links within this web site.


Anthony Traboulsee, MD
Assistant Professor (UBC Faculty of Medicine/Neurology)
Medical Director, UBC Hospital MS Clinic and Clinical Trials Group