Researchers Use Precision Cardiovascular Medicine to Prevent Development of Heart Disease – News

The precision medicine approach can identify people at high genetic risk for hypertension, heart failure, stroke and heart attack and use precision medicine to help prevent fatal cardiovascular disease.

Written by: Tehreem Khan
Media Contact: Anna Jones

1203554754380571.W353YwsWJJFCHC5ky98N height640Vibhu Parcha, MD and Pankaj Arora, MD Photography: Andrea Mabry
Nearly half of all American adults have high blood pressure, or hypertension. High blood pressure contributes to 65 percent of cardiovascular deaths in the United States. Exponential advances in genomic sequencing technology have enabled scientists to read the 3.4 billion letters that make up an individual’s DNA in a short period of time and use this information for research purposes.

Researchers are now using information from a patient’s DNA to identify their genetic risk of developing hypertension and life-threatening cardiovascular events, a concept known as precision medicine.

A recent study led by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Division of Cardiovascular Diseasespublished in the American Heart Association daily Circulation: Genomics and Precision Medicinecould play a pivotal role in the era of precision cardiovascular medicine.

This study used genomic information from nearly half a million people of multiple racial and ethnic backgrounds to create a blood pressure “genetic risk score” that captures a person’s genetic risk for high blood pressure.

“Commonly occurring changes in our DNA form the composite genetic risk score for hypertension in an individual,” he said. vibhu patch, MD, first author of the study and researcher at the UAB Division of Cardiovascular Diseases. “Since we are born with these commonly occurring DNA changes, we are at risk for hypertension and heart conditions throughout our lives, and the genetic risk score determines this.”

The team of researchers applied this score to more than 21,000 adult US research participants who contributed to the Trans-Omics for precision medicineo TOPMed program, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health Y National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute as part of the precision medicine initiative. They found that the genetic risk score identified people at increased risk of high blood pressure and could predict a person’s risk of developing heart failure, stroke, and heart attacks, even taking into account their traditional cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity. , smoking, diabetes, lipid profile and blood pressure levels. This genetic risk score also provides improved prediction of an individual’s risk for these fatal events, especially among younger individuals.

“DNA is not your destiny,” Parcha said. “We can potentially mitigate our genetic risk of heart disease by improving our lifestyle by reducing weight, increasing physical activity, and quitting smoking, and by controlling diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.”

According to Pankaj AroraMD, associate professor at the UAB Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine‘s Division of Cardiovascular Disease and director of the UAB Cardiogenomics Clinic, the aim of the study is to advance precision cardiovascular medicine that helps to understand how lifestyles, behavior, environment and the genetic risk profile of a patient interact individual to affect their risk of developing hypertension. heart failure, stroke and heart attacks.

“In today’s era of precision cardiovascular medicine, we want to have an individualized assessment of a person’s risk of fatal cardiac events,” Arora said. “This allows us to focus our efforts on preventing fatal cardiac events through a personalized approach based on your genetic risk.”

Arora says that, in general, genomic medicine does not have a good track record of including individuals from minority populations in research. The incorporation of participants from underserved populations is one of the greatest strengths of this research. Future implications of this study include further research on the role of disseminating genetic risk score results in improving blood pressure control and motivating sustained lifestyle changes among younger people at high risk. genetics of cardiac events.

The study findings were cross-verified in more than 50,000 participants in the National Institutes of Health-sponsored All of Us Research Program and the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes Trials Database.

Arora says that the UAB has been a leader in increasing the representation of underrepresented communities in research and medicine. The UAB Cardiogenomics Clinic cares for patients from all backgrounds and socioeconomic levels. The clinic uses resources such as the genetic risk score assessed in this study to understand a patient’s genetic history to help develop a personalized treatment plan based on their genetic results. The clinic provides a broad spectrum of cardiology health care services for people of all ages and with all types of heart conditions in the southeastern United States. Make an appointment today by visiting or by calling 205-934-9999.

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