"Therapies that modify ADAMTS7 and blood typing may be useful for heart disease, but are likely to work in different ways and different people," Reilly said.
"This concept speaks to future advances in personalized medicine and heart disease treatments. In addition, blood groups might be simple, if crude, indicators of heart attack risk or protection," he said.
But one expert cautioned that while blood type O may offer some protection from heart attack in people with coronary artery disease, that doesn't mean that your blood type alone will spare you from cardiovascular trouble.
"Individuals with blood type O should be just as vigilant about preventing heart disease and stroke as those of other blood types," said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Dr. Luca A. Lotta, co-author of accompanying editorial from the Angelo Bianchi Bonomi Hemophia and Thrombosis Center, Luigi Villa Foundation, University of Milan, said the findings "increase our knowledge of the DNA sequences that predispose individuals to develop atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction."
However, there is no direct and immediate clinical application for the findings, she added.
"But, they may lead in the future to the identification of previously unrecognized disease mechanisms and, potentially, to the development of new preventive and therapeutic strategies for these common and severe diseases," Lotta said.
Fonarow noted that, "it is well-established that there are genetic components to the risk of developing coronary atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction."
However, studies have not shown that genetic testing improves risk stratification or has clinical value in determining which treatment should be given over standard care, he said.
For more information on genes and heart dis
All rights reserved