Cancer-linked mutation accelerates growth of abnormal stroke-causing brain blood vessels

Researchers have discovered an explanation for why cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs)—clusters of dilated blood vessels in the brain—can suddenly grow to cause seizures or stroke. Specifically, they found that a specific, acquired mutation in a cancer-causing gene (PIK3CA) could exacerbate existing CCMs in the brain. Furthermore, repurposing an already existing anticancer drug showed promise in mouse models of CCMs in improving brain-vascular health and preventing bleeding into the brain tissue.