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Stanford-led study disproves link between genetic variant, risk of coronary artery disease
Date:10/7/2010

STANFORD, Calif. A genetic marker touted as a predictor of coronary artery disease is no such thing, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The massive international study, published online Oct. 7 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, assessed the predictive value of a leading genetic assay for risk of atherosclerosis.

The study analyzed the data from more than 17,000 patients with cardiovascular disease and 40,000 others to assess whether carrying a particular variant of the KIF6 gene indicated a greater risk for coronary artery disease a disease characterized by a buildup of cholesterol plaque in the walls of the arteries of the heart. The disease can lead to chest pain as well as heart attacks, which are often fatal.

The study found essentially no association between the gene variant and the risk of coronary disease. "This study puts the nail in the coffin," said Tom Quertermous, MD, the William G. Irwin Professor in Cardiovascular Medicine at Stanford and the study's senior author. "This is such a big study if there was a significant association between this variant and coronary disease, we would have found it."

Celera Corp., which pioneered the mapping of the human genome, owns the assay and currently performs the majority of the testing services. In June, as part of its effort to make the assay more widely available, Celera announced it had received approval from the European Union to market a test kit for the variant that would make it easier for physicians to collect patients' samples. The company said it would also submit an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this year for approval of the test kit.

Previous studies of the variant were less conclusive because they were based on fewer patients with coronary artery disease, said the new study's leader, assistant professor of medicine Themistocles Assimes, MD, PhD. These
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Contact: Susan Ipaktchian
susani@stanford.edu
650-725-5375
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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