Research note: Study uncovers marker for a chronic brain disease

Diseased mice treated with mock (left) or angiopoietin-2-neutralizing antibody (right).
Diseased mice treated with mock (left) or angiopoietin-2-neutralizing antibody (right). The antibody blunts cerebral cavernous malformation progression.

A team of researchers led by Yale professor of pathology Wang Min have pinpointed a marker that contributes to a chronic condition affecting the brain. Known as cerebral cavernous malformations, the condition is characterized by a tangle of capillaries in the brain’s white matter, which can cause headaches, seizures, bleeding, and even death. No effective therapy exists. (It has been reported that Olympic runner Florence Griffith Joyner, who died suddenly in 1998, had this condition.) Using an animal model of the disease, Min and his co-authors identified a growth factor (angiopoietin-2) that when blocked by an antibody, eliminates the malformations. “We have discovered a new and effective therapy for this potentially debilitating disorder,” he noted.

The study was published August 22 in Nature Medicine.

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Ziba Kashef: ziba.kashef@yale.edu, 203-436-9317