The Bee Foundation (TBF) is excited to announce our 2022 TBF Preventative Research Grants. This year each of our grants will honor a family who has been impacted by brain aneurysms and made significant efforts to fundraise for brain aneurysm research
The Brittany McCarthy TBF Brain Aneurysm Preventative Research Grant is Awarded to Dr. Stacey Wolfe.
Dr. Stacey Quintero Wolfe, Professor and Residency Program Director, Departments of Neurological Surgery and Radiology at the Wake University School of Medicine, has been awarded a $25,000 TBF research grant in honor of Brittany McCarthy, a vibrant 21 year old who passed away from a ruptured brain aneurysm in October of 2021. Patricia McCarthy, Brittany’s mother shared “the McCarthy family is honored to be part of this research grant. Brittany’s dream in life was to help others. She was studying to be a Physician’s Assistant and her passion was science and research. This grant is helping to live her dream. It is our hope that this research will help spare other families the tragedy of losing a cherished loved one to this silent killer.”
Dr. Wolfe’s research is based on a Nobel Prize winning discovery of the role that specific mechano- and neuroreceptors play in the detection of unruptured aneurysms. The receptors are basically channels that sense pressure in the walls of vessels, immune cells and nerves, and because of this, their dysfunction can point to the presence of both abdominal aortic and brain aneurysms.
Dr. Wolfe’s study would evaluate aneurysm patients for dysregulation and inflammation of the receptors, with the hope that it will lead to medical treatment to prevent aneurysm development and rupture through the regulation of these receptors. In collaborative discussion with TBF, Dr. Wolfe’s study will expand to a multi-institutional study of unruptured brain aneurysms of at least 25 patients. J Mocco, TBF’s Chief Medical officer comments “we are excited by the prospect of this novel research that clearly aligned with TBF’s mission.”
Expressing her enthusiasm for the project, Dr. Wolfe stressed her gratitude for the TBF grant and her excitement at the prospects for the study and its potential to make iterative leaps in our understanding and detection of intracranial aneurysms. “We appreciate the opportunity to partner with The Bee Foundation and carry out preventative research. Our team is incredibly sorry to learn of the loss of Brittany McCarthy and is so appreciative for their support.”
The Yezzi Family TBF Brain Aneurysm Preventative Research Grant is Awarded to Dr. Robert Starke.
Dr. Robert M. Starke, Professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has been awarded a $25,000 TBF research grant in honor of the Yezzi Family. Zac Yezzi, survived a ruptured brain aneurysm and AVM in 2021 and his family has been dedicated to spreading awareness and funding research. Zac shares “my outlook on life has changed dramatically—I’ve become extremely determined to do anything I can to pay it forward, including supporting The Bee Foundation’s work. I am honored to support Dr. Starke’s research and hope this moves us closer to preventing others from having to go through what I did.”
Dr. Starke’s research uses an innovative technique of human endovascular biopsy to collect aneurysm endothelial and inflammatory cells to better understand the molecular composition of these cells. Comparisons will be made versus normal control vessels and blood samples.
The goal of the study is to better understand endothelial cell dysfunction and its contribution to cerebral aneurysm development. A successful study would lead to novel test to identify unstable aneurysms, drugs to prevent aneurysm rupture, or minimally invasive treatment.
Dr. Starke has shared that he is humbled to receive this award in honor of the Yezzi family. “It is only through research that we will prevent this disease, which relies on the philanthropy of families like the Yezzi’s. Thank you for this opportunity.”