Imeka presents promising new results in its first collaborative research with Pfizer

Free water in white matter differentiates MCI and AD from control subjects

The Sherbrooke company and the pharmaceutical society present new neuroinflammatory results at the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine’s annual meeting in Paris.

Paris, France, June 18 2018 – Today the Sherbrooke-based company Imeka (, a provider of medical image processing services, will present results of a new collaborative research done with the international pharmaceutical society Pfizer inc. (, on neuroinflammation.

The research results are presented during the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine’s annual meeting ( by Maxime Descoteaux, Chief Scientific Officer at Imeka and professor-researcher in the Computer Science Department at the Sherbrooke University Science Faculty and the CHUS Research Center, and Jean-Christophe Houde, Manager of the DMRI division at Imeka and research assistant at the Sherbrooke Connectivity Imaging Laboratory (SCIL), along with James A. Goodman, Director at Pfizer, and Koene Van Dijk, Director of MR Imaging at Pfizer, in Cambridge, MA.

Recent studies have demonstrated a role for neuroinflammation in the development and evolution of many neurodegenerative diseases such as; Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. This advancement brings new hope to find novel treatments for many neurological diseases. Neuroinflammation can be partly quantified by measuring the free water quantity in white matter areas of the brain, where it normally is almost inexistent.

Within this research project directed by Matthieu Dumont, Data Scientist at Imeka, the Sherbrooke company was able to quantify the free water in MRI diffusion images from 212 elderly persons classified in three groups: 1) normal healthy controls, 2) moderate loss of cognition, and 3) patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The results demonstrate that the free water is statistically increased in patient populations with moderate loss of cognition, and Alzheimer’s disease when compared to normal healthy controls.

“These results demonstrate how Imeka’s technology can quantify neuroinflammation, notes Maxime Descoteaux. Our technology shows how it can be used to help patient stratification, as well as drug development design for a variety of neurodegenerative diseases.”

“We are proud that Pfizer has chosen Imeka for this collaborative research, says Jean-René Bélanger, Imeka’s CEO. It helps validate our technology with a major player in the pharmaceutical industry. This partnership opens possibilities for other collaborations with biopharmaceutical companies trying to solve challenges with neurological diseases.”

About Imeka

Imeka offers pharmaceutical companies a service based on the state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain. The company is working in collaboration with Pfizer in Cambridge, Massachussetts, to develop drugs to treat neurodegenerative diseases that includes: multiple sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease.