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$8.9 million NIH grant to study genomic link to premature heart disease

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Sept. 10, 2012 Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center are leading a four-year, $8.9 million national project to identify variations in the human genome and corresponding changes in the arterial proteins associated with premature development of atherosclerosis.

The other institutions collaborating with Wake Forest Baptist in this project are Harvard Medical School, The Johns Hopkins UniversityBayview Campus, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va., The University of Texas Science Center at Houston, and Louisiana State Health Sciences Center, New Orleans.

The purpose of this collaborative study is to provide novel insights into the interdependent networks of genes and proteins that put some individuals at risk of premature cardiovascular disease. Ultimately, such information could lead to new screening strategies and help identify new therapeutic targets to reduce the human and financial costs of cardiovascular disease worldwide.

Researchers will analyze data from a unique, NIH-funded repository held at Louisiana State Health Sciences Center that provides data, DNA and tissue samples from 3,400 young (15- to 34-year-old) multi-ethnic subjects who died of non-cardiovascular causes.

David M. Herrington, M.D., MHS, professor of Cardiology, and principal investigator for this national collaboration, says the aim is to create a detailed molecular characterization of arterial tissue with the purpose of identifying the genetic variants associated with premature cardiovascular disease. "By using state-of-the-art molecular and analytic methods, we will be able to determine the genomic and proteomic architecture of premature atherosclerosis," Herrington said. "This will add fundamentally new knowledge about the link between the genome and the proteome in the artery wall."


Contact: Paula Faria
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

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