Revolutionizing AVM and Cerebral Aneurysm Research and Treatment
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Imagine going about everyday life knowing there is a lesion in your brain that could burst at any moment, causing intense bleeding that could result in significant disability or even death. It would be terrifying. That is what it is like to have an aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation (AVM).
Nearly one-half of aneurysm ruptures and one-fifth of AVM ruptures are fatal. However, most people don’t know they have an aneurysm or AVM until a rupture occurs. Even when they are detected, the surgery to remove or repair aneurysms and AVMs can be extremely invasive. Depending on a variety of factors, including the type, size, and location of the lesion, the risks associated with operating can potentially outweigh the risk of a rupture. This puts patients in a very precarious position. To help change the outcome for those affected by these conditions, Barrow accepts challenges by taking on patients who are deemed ‘inoperable’ by others.
The Barrow Aneurysm and AVM Research Center (BAARC), led by Barrow Neurological Institute President and CEO Michael T. Lawton, MD, investigates the underlying genetics, formation, and rupture of aneurysms and AVMs in order to discover better ways to detect and treat them.
See what we achieved in research and patient care last year by downloading the FY22 Aneurysm and AVM Disorders Stewardship Report below.
FY22 Barrow Aneurysm and AVM Research Center Stewardship ReportDownload Report
The Barrow Aneurysm and AVM Research Center pushes the boundaries of care, leading to the development of new, less invasive, and more effective treatments for patients around the world.
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Transforming lives through cutting-edge AVM and Cerebral Aneurysm Research
Currently, there are 10 research studies funded by the Foundation. BAARC performs research to better understand the biology of aneurysms and AVMs to improve the quality of life for people affected by these neurovascular diseases. Understanding the genetics helps doctors find ways to better treat or prevent complications.
Tomoki Hashimoto, MD, leads bench-to-bedside research and since many aneurysms go undetected until a rupture occurs, Dr. Hashimoto has been investigating ways to better diagnose them. S. Paul Oh, PhD, studies the genetics and mechanisms that lead to AVM development and progression. Additionally, Dr. Oh has developed a preclinical model that will allow his team to induce AVMs in a specific part of the brain laying important groundwork for future studies to determine factors that influence the timing of AVM induction and rupture.
- Dr. Hashimoto and Jinglu Ai, PhD, have been studying the association between aging and increased risk of aneurysm rupture. Specifically, cell senescence (when cells stop dividing due to aging and begin secreting inflammatory proteins) which can trigger an aneurysm rupture. The team is investigating the role of the molecule Sirtuin-1 (SIRT1) as a potential drug target to reduce cell senescence and prevent aneurysms from rupturing.
- A study that aims to find a blood test (i.e., a blood biomarker) to diagnose aneurysms has resulted in the collection of blood samples from more than 40 patients, both before and after aneurysm clipping surgery.
- A mutation in the KRAS gene that causes its overexpression has been linked to the formation of brain AVMs. Dr. Oh and his team have developed a new preclinical model to regulate the expression of the KRAS gene testing whether the repression of this gene can stabilize or decrease the size of an already established AVM. If their hypothesis is true, then the team can try to target the gene with a class of inhibitors to induce AVM regression.
Providing hope to patients and families
Michael T. Lawton, MD, President and CEO of Barrow and director of the Barrow Aneurysm and Arteriovenous Malformation Research Center, leads the effort in transforming the lives of patients with neurovascular diseases. He conducts research into the formation, underlying genetics, hemodynamics, rupture and computational modeling of brain aneurysms and AVMS.
Dr. Lawton has treated over 5,200 aneurysms, more than 990 AVMs and 1,000 cavernous malformations. The support of donors like you allows BAARC to conduct vital research to explore the genetics, formation, and rupture of aneurysms and AVMs. Your generosity means that we can continue pushing the boundaries of care beyond our walls, leading to the development of groundbreaking new treatments that can benefit patients around the world.
On the Horizon
Dr. Hashimoto and Dr. Ai have submitted an application for a R01 research grant to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to further their preclinical studies of SIRT1 in its ability to prevent aneurysm rupture. They plan to generate a manuscript and publish their findings from this study in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Dr. Hashimoto also will continue his study investigating blood biomarkers for the diagnosis of brain aneurysms.
Dr. Oh and his team will use their new preclinical model to test the whether the repression of the KRAS gene can stabilize or decrease the size of an already established AVM. Dr. Oh will also perform tests to determine factors that influence the timing of AVM induction and rupture.
College Graduate Gets a Second Chance at Life After AVM RuptureView Story
With your support, the Barrow Aneurysm and AVM Research Center (BAARC), led by Dr. Lawton, can continue to develop new, less invasive, and more effective treatments for aneurysms and AVMs, so more patients like Morgan can have a second chance at life.