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Sam and Rita Garvin Endow Aneurysm Research Chair at Barrow with $2.5M Gift

October 6, 2023
Barrow scientist Tomoki Hashimoto, MD, named as the inaugural chair.

Barrow Neurological Foundation is proud to announce that Sam and Rita Garvin have made a generous $2.5 million gift to endow the Sam and Rita Garvin Aneurysm Research Chair in the Barrow Aneurysm and AVM Research Center. Tomoki Hashimoto, MD, professor of neuro-anesthesiology and neurobiology and director of translational neurovascular research in the Center, has been named as the inaugural chair.

“I’ve seen firsthand how dangerous aneurysms can be. My wife, Rita, suffered from a ruptured aneurysm, but we were able to get her to Barrow Neurological Institute in time for surgery. I credit Barrow for saving her life. We endowed the Sam and Rita Garvin Aneurysm Research Chair in support of Dr. Hashimoto’s work to develop better aneurysm detection and treatment methods for patients,”

Sam Garvin, Vice Chairman of the Phoenix Suns

A cerebral aneurysm is a weak spot along a blood vessel in the brain that can cause severe bleeding if it ruptures. Approximately 45% of all aneurysm ruptures are fatal. However, most people don’t know they have an aneurysm until it becomes extremely large or ruptures. With large aneurysms, the risks of surgery can potentially outweigh the risks of a rupture. This puts patients in a difficult position.

“Dr. Hashimoto has pioneered a novel preclinical model to test potential drug targets for stabilizing aneurysms and preventing their rupture, with the goal of translating his findings into patient care. His model is so good that labs around the world have adopted it as the experimental standard. Through this generous gift from the Garvins, he can continue expanding his innovative research,” said Michael T. Lawton, MD, President and CEO of Barrow Neurological Institute and Founder and Director of the Barrow Aneurysm and AVM Research Center.

One area of research Dr. Hashimoto focuses on is developing new, less invasive, and more effective treatments for patients, including a medication-based approach to preventing aneurysm ruptures. This groundbreaking treatment method could be lifesaving for patients who are at a high risk for complications during aneurysm surgery.

“Dr. Hashimoto’s groundbreaking aneurysm research exemplifies Barrow’s scientific mission of pushing boundaries to develop new treatments that save patients’ lives. We are so grateful to the Garvins for their generosity in endowing the Sam and Rita Garvin Aneurysm Research Chair, which will allow Dr. Hashimoto the time and resources to continue his innovative work.”

Katie Cobb, President of Barrow Neurological Foundation

Recently, Dr. Hashimoto received a significant five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue his research on the association between aging and aneurysm rupture. Specifically, he is looking at the process of cell senescence, when cells stop dividing due to aging. This causes inflammation and damage to blood vessels, which can trigger an aneurysm rupture. Cell senescence can occur in both younger and older individuals, and Dr. Hashimoto aims to find an effective drug target that can be applied to both patient populations.

“Donors are extremely important in allowing us to produce and try new ideas that could lead to better treatments for patients. I am grateful to the Garvins for their support, and I am honored to be named the inaugural Sam and Rita Garvin Aneurysm Research Chair.”

Tomoki Hashimoto, MD

The Barrow Aneurysm and AVM Research Center investigates the underlying genetics, formation, and rupture of aneurysms and AVMs in order to find better ways to detect and treat them. Its team of dedicated scientists conducts critical research that pushes the boundaries of care beyond the walls of Barrow to benefit aneurysm and AVM patients around the world.