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Cerebral Cavernous Malformation (CCM) Research

Issam A. Awad, MD, has led research studies on CCM for nearly three decades. His work helped identify the early natural history and gene loci of CCM, including the discovery of the Common Hispanic CCM1 mutation and more recently the Asheklnazi Jewish CCM2 mutation. He discovered the immune response in CCM lesions, genetic aberrations in lesions themselves, and signaling targets for potential treatment of the disease.

Immune response in CCM lesions

Awad and his research team are currently funded by the National Institutes of Health to study the biology and clinical behavior of CCM. They are developing biomarkers of CCM disease on imaging, including permeability or “subtle leakage” in lesions and brain, and quantitative susceptibility mapping of iron levels in lesions.

QSM Assessing Iron content in CCM Lesions Using MRI

Our team is also helping to develop blood tests that may predict CCM lesion activity. These studies are aimed at the prediction of lesion behavior and the innovation of drugs that halt lesion development.

» Read more about Awad’s CCM research.

Many of our patients participate in CCM research by allowing our team to analyze the data collected during their enhanced MRI scans. This information is used to discover more about the origin and behavior of each CCM lesion, and contributes to the ongoing development of new CCM management strategies. Patients may give blood samples for biomarker research or donate samples of a lesion resected at surgery for research studies. All research involving human subjects is totally voluntary, and does not otherwise influence the highest level of clinical care delivered to each patient regardless of participation in research. Research insures utmost privacy and does not incur patients any additional cost beyond their routine clinical care. Each project is approved by the Institutional Review Board at University of Chicago Medicine.

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Kristina Piedad, RN


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