Spring 2019 (Volume 29, Number 1)

The Canadian Inflammatory Myopathy Study (CIMS)

By Valérie Leclair, MD, FRCPC; Océane Landon-Cardinal, MD, FRCPC; and Marie Hudson, MD, FRCPC

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Our understanding and management of autoimmune myopathies (AIM) appears to be at a crossroad. Significant progress has been made, but much more is yet to be achieved. However, the rarity and heterogeneity of AIM makes research in this field challenging. Building on Canada’s strong history of collaborative research in rheumatology, we created the Canadian Inflammatory Myopathy Study (CIMS) to overcome these challenges and make meaningful contributions to this fascinating field.

The strengths of this study include: 1) a prospective, longitudinal and multi-centered inception cohort; 2) a multi-disciplinary team with highly qualified junior faculty members who have completed myositis fellowship training in the U.S. and Europe, as well as expertise in a wide variety of disciplines, including pathology, respirology, and radiology; 3) the participation of basic scientists to pursue translational opportunities; and 4) well-developed relationships with professional and patient organizations to disseminate knowledge.

The data collection protocol includes a number of forms developed by the International Myositis Assessment and Clinical Studies (IMACS) at the NIH to facilitate international collaborations. Serum is collected at baseline and annually, and stored in Calgary. Muscle biopsies are read centrally in Montreal. CIMS currently has 11 sites (Figure 1) and more than 140 subjects, some with up to five years of follow-up. To date, several research projects have been undertaken relating to health-related quality of life, use of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), myositis-associated interstitial lung disease, nailfold videocapillaroscopy, screening for malignancy and novel antibodies. Funded by a CIORA grant, CIMS is also developing capacity to participate in randomized clinical trials of myositis.

Myositis research registries like CIMS have the potential to greatly improve our understanding of AIM and to facilitate discovery research. In addition, there are exciting opportunities to practice precision medicine in the field of AIM. By contributing to and sharing new knowledge, CIMS will promote world-class care for Canadian AIM patients.

If you would like to know more about CIMS, refer patients or even consider participating, please contact Dr. Marie Hudson at

Valérie Leclair, MD, FRCPC
Rheumatology Unit, Jewish General Hospital
Assistant Professor,
Department of Medicine,
McGill University Montreal, Canada

Océane Landon-Cardinal, MD, FRCPC
Division of Rheumatology,
Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal,
Assistant Professor,
Department of Medicine,
University of Montreal
Montreal, Quebec

Marie Hudson, MD, FRCPC
Jewish General Hospital and Lady Davis Institute
Associate Professor,
Department of Medicine,
McGill University
Montreal, Quebec


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