Quantitative Measurement of Syndesmophytes in Ankylosing Spondylitis Using Computed Tomography (CT)

Syndesmophyte (abnormal bone) growth in the spine is a hallmark of Ankylosing Spondylitis, a type of inflammatory arthritis. Syndesmophyte growth is currently monitored using semi-quantitative scoring of radiographs, but radiographs consider only a small part of the vertebra, and the method is subject to reader error. Because syndesmophytes grow slowly, radiographs also lack sensitivity. The invention provides a method to measure syndesmophytes using data from computed tomography scans of the lumbar spine. It provides computer algorithm that fully quantitates syndesmophyte volumes in three-dimension space. This method allows precise and accurate measurement of the presence and rate of growth of syndesmophytes over time, which for the first time will permit testing of whether any treatments can slow the progression of this type of spinal arthritis.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
  • The method would be useful for clinical trials of drugs against Syndesmophyte growth.
  • Because of the improved precision, achieving statistical significance in assessing the efficacy of a drug would require smaller samples.
  • The present method is more automated than existing methods.
  • The method is more precise and sensitive than existing methods, thus providing more reliable statistical analysis and improved planning in treatment regimen.

Development Stage:
In vivo data available (human)


Sovira Tan (NIAMS)  ➽ more inventions...

Intellectual Property:
Software — Patent protection is not being pursued for this technology.

Tan S, et al. PMID 18779065

Collaboration Opportunity:

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate or commercialize this technology. For collaboration opportunities, please contact Brian W. Bailey, Ph.D. at bbailey@mail.nih.gov.

Licensing Contact:
Michael Shmilovich, J.D.
Email: shmilovm@mail.nih.gov
Phone: 301-435-5019

OTT Reference No: E-167-2011-0
Updated: Aug 12, 2011