Angioma Alliance, the nation’s only patient advocacy nonprofit for individuals impacted by cerebral cavernous angiomas, has designated the University of Chicago Medicine as its first Clinical Center of Excellence for treatment and research into the rare disease.
In conjunction with the designation, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel proclaimed Oct. 24 as Cavernous Angioma Awareness Day to raise awareness of the need for expanded research and treatment resources for this potentially fatal illness. Cavernous angiomas, also known as cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM), affect 1 in 600 people, according research published in the medical journal The Lancet. CCM are abnormally-shaped blood vessels in the brain or spine, with symptoms such as hemorrhage, seizures, motor problems, memory problems and muscle weakness.
For the past 14 years Angioma Alliance and Issam Awad, MD, director of neurovascular surgery at the University of Chicago, have worked together to serve the cavernous angioma patient community. Awad serves as Founding Chairman of the Angioma Alliance Scientific Advisory Board. He is the John Harper Seeley Professor of Neurosurgery and a leading cavernous angioma researcher. Angioma Alliance frequently refers patients to Awad’s clinic. Awad will be the Medical Director of the new Cavernous Angioma Center of Excellence overseeing a multi-disciplinary team.
“My proclamation of Oct. 24 as Cavernous Angioma Awareness Day further acknowledges this partnership,” says Emanuel. “I encourage the public and medical community to learn more about this devastating illness. Chicago is proud to have Dr. Awad and the University of Chicago Medicine play such a key role in researching potential treatments into CCM.”