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New gene regions identified that predispose people to heart attacks, Stanford scientists say
Date:3/6/2011

STANFORD, Calif. Thirteen new gene regions have been convincingly linked to coronary atherosclerosis in a massive, new, international genetics study involving investigators from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The results of the study, to be published online March 6 in Nature Genetics, provide 13 vital new clues on the etiology of this disease, the most common cause of death worldwide. The study doubles the number of gene regions previously known to predispose people to this condition. Coronary atherosclerosis is the process by which plaque builds up in the wall of heart vessels, eventually leading to chest pain and potentially lethal heart attacks.

The study was conducted by an international consortium, which pooled resources to analyze data from 14 genome-wide association studies. Consortium investigators examined the complete genetic profiles of more than 22,000 people of European descent with coronary heart disease or a heart attack history and 60,000 healthy people close to 10 times more than the next-largest whole-genome study to date.

"These new discoveries will allow scientists worldwide to eventually better understand the root causes of coronary atherosclerosis, possibly leading to important new drug therapies that may profoundly reduce the risk of having a heart attack," said Thomas Quertermous, MD, the William G. Irwin Professor in Cardiovascular Medicine at Stanford. Quertermous is the principal investigator of the Stanford/Kaiser ADVANCE study of heart disease, which joined this consortium early in its formation.

Investigators were able to examine an average of 2.5 million common single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, in each of the 14 genome-wide association studies. SNPs are genetic variants at specific locations on individual chromosomes. New genomic technology allows hundreds of thousands of SNPs to be reliably scanned in a person. Variants in 23 regions that appeared most likely to pre
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Contact: Tracie White
traciew@stanford.edu
650-723-7628
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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