New genes and molecules responsible for coronary artery disease are being identified by researchers at the University of Leicester. This could in turn help develop new diagnostic and treatment strategies.
"Various risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, obesity and increased levels of cholesterol play a significant role in the progression of CAD. There is also evidence that familial predisposition is a strong risk factor. Indeed, your risk of CAD increases by almost 50 percent if one of your relatives has a history of heart disease, " said Paraskevi Christofidou, of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences.
According to her, this susceptibility is passed on from genes another as a collection of small changes in DNA sequence called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).
"The recent genetic revolution offers tracking of SNPs in human DNA on an unprecedented scale. With the use of new genetic tools called "chips" it is possible to track and characterise precisely up to 1 million SNPs in a subject.
"We anticipate that some of these variants occur more frequently in patients with CAD compared to healthy subjects and are responsible for genetic predisposition to CAD. It is likely that some of these variants are rare so large cohorts of subjects are needed to identify sufficient numbers for analysis."
This project will conduct analysis of human DNA from more than 20, 000 patients with CAD and 60, 000 healthy controls.