February 4, 2019/ Original Source
It is known as “the silent killer” for a reason; an intracranial aneurysm (IAs) can strike lethally and without warning. But without useful biomarkers, meaningful intervention is more than challenging. A recent paper in the Journal of Translational Medicine hints at a new approach, by highlighting a signature for IAs hidden within the RNA transcriptome of circulating neutrophils.
“When we studied the pathology of aneurysm, we realized that it was an inflammatory response – as is the rupture,” explains Hui Meng (centre), Professor of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering and Neurosurgery at the University of Buffalo, and one of the project leaders. Trained in fluid dynamics, Meng was initially interested in the hemodynamic mechanisms of aneurysm formation. She quickly became aware of a lack of screening tools and frequently witnessed patients arriving at the hospital medical center with ruptured aneurysms. “We hypothesized that there might be a signature in the blood that could tell us when aneurysms were forming,” she says. To develop the idea, the team looked for external support. “We found collaborators, such as James Jarvis, who was developing RNA sequencing biomarkers for another inflammatory disease: juvenile arthritis.” Meng explains. “And that’s how we started to design a pilot study; we ran a small study of just six patients – and to our surprise there was a significant difference.”
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