Brain Arteriovenous Malformations Brain arteriovenous malformations (bAVMs) are abnormal connections of arteries and veins in the brain, forming a tangled web of vessels instead of a normal capillary network. The bAVMs occur about one in 2,000–5,000 people and are more common in males than females. There is a high risk factor for hemorrhagic stroke and the patients can suffer from focal or generalized seizures, localized headache, and difficulty with movement, speech and vision. Brain arteriovenous malformation (bAVM) treatments have been limited and mainly rely on surgical resection or endovascular embolization to eliminate bAVM. These treatments are typically limited by the location of the AVM in the brain and many patients with bAVM have been left untreated, unable to be treated, incompletely treated, or incompletely treated with complications. Unfortunately, all of these patients remain at risk of a brain hemorrhage due to bAVM rupture during their lifetime. The physical and psychological impacts significantly interference with their quality of life, if the bAVM does not result in premature death. The bAVMs can occur anywhere within the brain or on its covering, however the cause of bAVMs is not known. The bAVMs are usually congenital, meaning someone is born with one, however they are usually not hereditary. Recently, it has been reported that some endothelial and angiogenic molecular factors, such as endoglin, Alk1, VEGF, SMAD1, and Notch signaling are related to the bAVM formation. However, the information is still not enough to understand the etiology and pathology of bAVMs and we need to put more effort into finding scientific and technology driven therapies, instead of relying on the current high risk surgical methods. To find the factor(s) related to the bAVM, first, we will utilize the human bAVM samples. By screening the gene/protein profiles from the human samples, we can find the molecular factor(s) related with the bAVM pathology. Next, we will confirm the factor(s) in the pre-clinical animal models. By utilizing genetically-modified animal models, we will elucidate the crucial molecule(s) related to bAVM patency, degeneration, or thrombosis. Once we find the target molecule(s), the next step is to define a strategy to regulate the factor(s) and related mechanism(s). We can generate method(s) to stimulate or inhibit the target molecule(s) and/or related mechanism. After confirming the efficacy and safety of the method(s) in pre-clinical studies using animal models, the final step is the study in a clinical setting if it delivers the same effects in patients with bAVM.
Written by Dr. Eunhee Kim In October of 2017, Dr. Chen hired Dr. Eunhee Kim to begin the research on AVMs. On October 3, 2017, Dr. Chen received his first check from our foundation for $100,000.00. Dr. Kim has started collecting data on mice that have AVMs. She will continue to collect this data for approximately three years and will apply for a grant to help fund this study.
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