Disease of the small blood vessels in the brain (cerebral small vessel disease or SVD) causes a quarter of all strokes (lacunar stroke) and is the most common cause of vascular dementia. Despite its importance we understand relatively little about what causes this disease. However we know genetic factors are important. If we can identify the responsible genes it will provide new insights into what causes SVD, and may help us identify new possible treatments.
We are leading a worldwide collaboration to identify new genes for lacunar stroke. To identify new genes requires us to collect many thousands of cases of lacunar stroke, with the diagnosis confirmed on MRI. In a previous study, DNA lacunar 1, we collected 1000 cases. Using this data we have recently carried out an analysis which identified 11 new genes for SVD, and has provided completely new insights into what causes the disease.
We are now extending this work aiming for a target of 5000 cases worldwide.
DNA Lacunar 2 is recruiting an additional 1500 MRI-confirmed lacunar stroke cases across 54 hospitals in England to help us reach this 5000 total.
The DNA lacunar stroke 2 Study is funded by the British Heart Foundation.