THE Centenary Institute has today announced a new breakthrough in understanding the cause of stroke in young people.
Published in the highly-regarded journal “Development Cell”, this new research focuses on the molecular basis of Cerebral Cavernous Malformations (CCMs) – collections of small blood vessels which enlarge in the brain and form an irregular thin structures. They cause serious symptoms in the brain – being the most important organ in the human body.
The Centenary Institute’s innovative research has uncovered a new molecular connection between the loss of activity in CCM genes and weakened blood vessels in the brain; a major cause of hemorrhagic stroke. Findings have also revealed CCM signaling controls a series of vital gene expression in endothelial cells, which are critical for the growth and normal function of heart and blood vessels of a young age.
The Centenary Institute’s Dr Xiangjian Zheng, who led this research, said this findingis vitally important because there is presently no non-surgical treatment for this cause of stroke. And given the location of affected area in brain, surgical treatment is not possible for many patients, leaving them with no medical treatment option.
“This type of stroke affects around 5 in every 1000 people worldwide, many of them diagnosed in their 30s and 40s,” Dr Zheng said.
“In discovering this molecular link we now have a better understanding of how and why this type of stroke occurs.
“It is only with this type of knowledge that we can now look towards a treatment and prevention of this devastating disease.”
This research was conducted through genetic studies in mice and zebrafish and molecular analysis in human endothelial cells.
Dr Xiangjian Zheng is an Associate Faculty Member of the Centenary Institute’s Vascular Biology Group. He has been researching the role of Cerebral Cavernous Malformations for the past six years.
To find out more about the Centenary Institute’s lifesaving medical research visit www.centenary.org.au.
Source: The Centenary Institute
Image Source: Dr Xiangjian Zheng (Credit: The Centenary Institute).
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