Marchuk Receives Mitchell Asbury Memorial Award

January 3, 2013

Durham, NC – Douglas Marchuk, PhD, Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and Director of the University Program in Genetics and Genomics, has received the $25,000 Mitchell Asbury Memorial Award. The award will be used by Marchuk to support laboratory testing of the drugs Fasudil and Simvastatin in mice with a mutation on the CCM3 gene. The proposed research will focus on determining whether these medications can limit the formation of abnormal blood vessels in the brain, known as cavernous angiomas or cerebral cavernous malformations, and if use of the drugs can reduce progression and hemorrhage in existing lesions.

Fasudil and Simvastatin have shown promise in animal model studies of CCM1 and CCM2, two other genetic causes of cerebral cavernous malformation development.

“A mutation on the CCM3 gene is often tied to recurrent brain hemorrhage and seizure in both children and adults, and there are no current medication treatment options,” said Connie Lee, PsyD, CCM3 Action Program Coordinator. “Dr. Marchuk’s work will determine whether clinical trials employing these medications are warranted. Because results can be immediately translated into human treatment studies, this research is especially exciting for the patient community.”

The Mitchell Asbury Memorial Award was named for a patient who died in 2010 at the age of 53 from complications of CCM3.

Marchuk received his BS in Biology from the University of Dayton, an MS from the University of Connecticut (Microbiology) and his PhD in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology from the University of Chicago, where he worked with Elaine Fuchs on the molecular and cell biology of cytokeratins. His postdoctoral research was with Francis Collins at the University of Michigan, where he developed novel cloning technologies for the identification of Mendelian disease genes. He employed these advances to identify the causative gene for the inherited cancer syndrome, neurofibromatosis. In 1993, he came to Duke University as Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology.

Marchuk’s laboratory studies genetic risk factors for cardiovascular disease using a combination of mouse and human genetic approaches. Most recently, the Marchuk lab has harnessed the power of mouse genetics to map novel genes that affect the severity and progression of disease in mouse models of disease.

Marchuk has been on the Scientific Advisory Board of Angioma Alliance, the parent organization of CCM3 Action, since 2002.

For more information about cavernous angiomas, please visit www.Angioma.org

For more information about the CCM3 mutation and CCM3 Action, please visit www.CCM3.org

Media Contact:
Connie Lee, PsyD
clee@angioma.org 
757-344-0562