HEIDELBERG, Germany, June 23 (UPI) — German scientists say they might have found a non-surgical way of treating benign vascular malformations in the brain known as cavernomas.
Cavernomas, which can occur in many tissues of the body, are characterized by enlarged, unstable and unstructured blood vessels. Researchers at the University of Heidelberg and the German Cancer Research Center said cavernomas of medical relevance are primarily those of the brain, which develop in about 1 in 200 people. Such brain growths present a growing danger of cerebral hemorrhage, which can lead to seizures, neurological failures and even stroke. Therefore, cavernomas causing symptoms are surgically removed from the brain, if possible.
“Our latest findings suggest that, like in tumors, excessive and uncontrolled vascular growth leads to the development of cavernomas,” said Dr. Andreas Fischer, who led the study.
In their first approach, the researchers tested the anticancer drug sorafenib, which inhibits formation of new blood vessels. In transplanted mice, the scientists said the substance led to a massive reduction of the vascular growth.
“We will now investigate whether we can treat brain cavernomas without surgery using a drug from cancer medicine,” Fischer said, describing the project’s future goals.
The study appears in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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