Apollo Hospitals Friday announced a research initiative in collaboration with US-based health institute John Hopkins to identify the gene responsible for high cardiac risk among Indians.
The path breaking research will help in finding an answer to why Indians have a far higher propensity to heart diseases compared to other races, said Pratap C. Reddy, chairman, Apollo Group of Hospitals.
The researchers of Apollo, the pioneer in medical care in private sector and John Hopkins, America's number one hospital for 16 years, will get together to randomly select a group of Indians with specific cardiovascular diseases to identify and isolate the culprit genes.
"On discovering this unique gene, Apollo intends to modify it or neutralise its inimical properties through the use of latest advances in genomics, proteonomics and nanotechnology," Reddy told a news conference.
Apollo will initially spend Rs.60 million but said it was ready to spend any amount for the project.
Apollo and John Hopkins have already drawn the protocol. They are ready to include in the initiative any research group and are also holding talks with the department of science and technology, government of India.
Explaining the reasons for embarking on the research initiative, Reddy said Asians, especially Indians, were 12 to 15 times more prone to heart diseases than other races. India has 50 million people suffering from heart diseases. "If we don't do anything to stop this, Word Health Organisation has warned that by 2012, 60 percent of world's heart patients will be in India," he said.
In Indians the disease manifests a decade earlier creating a huge socio-economic impact on the society. Heart disease is the most common cause of death. Every year 2.4 million people die of cardio vascular diseases.
Stressing the need for research, he said risk factors like hypertension, smoking, high total serum cholesterol and high fat diet, did not seem to fully account for the high incidence of disease in Indians. "There is possibly a genetic predisposition to heart disease among Indians but the precise cause is till elusive," said eminent cardiologist Vijay Dikshit.
Apollo hasnounced that it would introduce 64 CT scan in all its major clinics and hospitals. This is the most technologically advanced equipment in detecting heart disease within 10 seconds in a non-invasive manner.