deCODE Finds Genetic Factors Impacting Key Clinical Measurements of Heart Activity and Disease Risk

Monday, January 11, 2010 Heart Disease News
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REYKJAVIK, Iceland, January 10

- Novel SNPs Modulate ECG Measurements Including Heart Rate, Two are AlsoRisk Factors for Atrial Fibrillation and Will be Integrated Into deCODEAF(TM) Test

Scientists at deCODE genetics today report the discovery of seven noveland common single-letter variations in the sequence of the human genome(SNPs) that are involved in modulating the electrical impulses that governthe working of the heart. Two of these SNPs, which correlate withelectrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) measurements that are used in the clinicalevaluation of heart health and activity, were then shown to confer increasedrisk of atrial fibrillation (AF), one of the most common causes of irregularheartbeat and a leading cause of stroke. The paper, "Several common variantsmodulate heart rate, PR interval and QRS duration," is published online inNature Genetics at, and will appear in an upcomingprint addition of the journal.

The deCODE team began by correlating ECG measurements with genome-wideSNP data from more than 40,000 Icelandic participants in its gene discoveryprogram. This search identified one novel SNP influencing heart rate and foureach linked to PR interval and QRS duration, measurements of how quickly theelectrical impulses that cause the heart muscles to pump achieve theirpurpose. Intriguingly, SNPs on chromosome 3 linked to both longer PR intervaland QRS duration are in the gene encoding SCN10A, a sodium channel that hasnever before been linked to heart activity. Individuals with the samevariants were also more likely to have been fitted with a pacemaker. Afollow-on analysis of all of the novel SNPs in Icelandic and Norwegian heartpatients and controls demonstrated the association of two of the SNPs linkedto PR interval to risk of AF, and another SNP to increased risk of advancedatrioventricular block. Two other papers published today in the same journalprovide further validation of some of the deCODE findings.

"Over the past two years, we have discovered major genetic risk factorsfor heart disease and stroke and introduced tests for these risk factors intoclinical practice. We are building the power of these tests through ourongoing discovery work, and today's findings demonstrate again thefruitfulness of using intermediate risk factors and clinical measurements asentry points for finding risk factors for disease. Our population resourcesenable us to do so efficiently and with exciting results. These latestfindings will be incorporated into our deCODE AF test and deCODEme scans, andcertain of these discoveries may also provide opportunities for outlicensingfor therapeutic development," said Kari Stefansson, CEO of deCODE.

About deCODE

deCODE is a global leader in analysing and understanding the humangenome. deCODE has identified key variations in the sequence of the genomeconferring increased risk of major public health challenges fromcardiovascular disease to cancer, and employs its gene discovery engine todevelop DNA-based tests to assess individual risk of common diseases; tolicense its tests and intellectual property to partners; and to providecomprehensive, leading- edge contract services to companies and researchinstitutions around the globe. Through its CLIA- and CAP-certified laboratorydeCODE offers DNA-based tests for gauging risk and empowering prevention ofcommon diseases, including deCODE T2(TM) for type 2 diabetes; deCODE AF(TM)for atrial fibrillation and stroke; deCODE MI(TM) for heart attack; deCODEProstateCancer(TM) for prostate cancer; deCODE Glaucoma(TM) for a major typeof glaucoma; and deCODE BreastCancer, for the common forms of breast cancer.Through its pioneering personal genome analysis service deCODEme(TM), deCODEenables individuals to better understand their risk of dozens of commondiseases and to learn about their ancestry and other traits. Visit us on theweb at; at; at; and on our blog at

Any statements contained in this presentation that relate to futureplans, events or performance are forward-looking statements within themeaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Theseforward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements regardingdeCODE's expectations concerning the bankruptcy process and the continuationof day-to-day operations. deCODE's actual results could differ materiallyfrom those anticipated in the forward-looking statements as a result of risksand uncertainties, including, without limitation, (1) the impact of theannouncement of its bankruptcy filing on deCODE's operations; (2) the abilityof deCODE to maintain sufficient debtor-in-possession financing to fund itsoperations and the expenses of the Chapter 11 proceeding; (3) the ability ofdeCODE to obtain court approval of its motions in the Chapter 11 proceeding;(4) the outcome and timing of the proposed sale of deCODE's assets, includingdeCODE's ability to close a transaction with SagaInvestments, LLC or anyother purchaser; (5) the uncertainty associated with motions by third partiesin the bankruptcy proceeding; (6) deCODE's ability to obtain and maintainnormal terms with vendors and service providers and contracts that arecritical to its operation; (7) risks associated with deCODE's suspension anddelisting form the Nasdaq Stock Market and the trading of deCODE's commonstock in the Pink Sheets; and (8) other risks identified in deCODE's filingswith the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, without limitation,the risk factors identified in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K andany updates to those risk factors filed from time to time in our QuarterlyReports on Form 10-Q or Current Reports on Form 8-K. deCODE undertakes noobligation to update or alter these forward-looking statements as a result ofnew information, future events or otherwise.Contacts: deCODE genetics Edward Farmer +354-570-2819 Gisli Arnason +354-570-1900 Joy Bessenger +1-212-481-3891

SOURCE DeCODE Genetics Inc

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