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Identification of novel genes causing intracranial aneurysms

Principal Investigator:
  • Michael Woods, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Team Members:
  • Ross McGowan, Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Heart and Stroke Foundation

Project Overview

Stroke is the leading cause of disability among adults and one of the three leading causes of death in North America. Intracranial aneurysm (IA) is one of the main subtypes of stroke and is a medical condition where the wall of a vessel in the brain expands, and fills with blood. If an IA bursts, it can cause bleeding in the space between the skull and the brain. The risk of having an IA can be increased by a number of factors including high blood pressure, smoking, brain injury, and also genetic factors however, the genetics behind IA is not well understood. For this project, Dr. Woods and his team are studying the genetics of IA in families from Newfoundland that have a strong family history of the disease. their goal is to find mutations in genes that cause IA, which will help us figure out how to find and treat IA better. To find gene mutations that cause IA, they will be using a method called next generation sequencing (NGS). NGS is a method that takes a person’s DNA and locates all of the mutations in their DNA. This research will have a direct impact on the health and quality of life of people with stroke, and in particular those with IAs. If a mutation is found in the study, any family member could have their DNA tested for this mutation, and treatment could be given if necessary. Once they have identified novel genetic causes of IA, they plan to study the genes and how they work in much more detail. The goal is to eventually build a holistic IA research program.