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More than 300 new hypertension genes discovered


A genome-wide scan in hypertension in the East Finland founder population has re-affirmed the majority of genes previously known to be associated with hypertension. The new genes discovered include also ones, which appear to give humans a strong protection against hypertension. The scan was conducted by a novel approach.

The DNA samples used in the study were collected in the 1980’s from a genetically-homogeneous population that can be accurately traced back to a few hundred founders in the 1600’s.

The Jurilab team used a novel approach. The Jurilab gene discovery team typed over 100,000 single-nucleotide-polymorphisms covering the majority of structural blocks in the genome of Eastern Finns, who share exceptionally large genomic regions. The study was supported by Tekes and carried out in collaboration with the University of Kuopio in East Finland.

The study confirms Jurilab’s previous assumptions concerning the total number of disease-related genes involved in hypertension, and gives invaluable insight into the interplay of different genes and new pathways in hypertension.

"These discoveries open up a new chapter in the development of predictive tests and much improved therapeutics for hypertension", said professor Jukka T. Salonen, Jurilab’s chief scientific officer. "We have also shown that human studies are relevant and cannot be replaced by animal models".

"Jurilab plans to commercialize the findings rapidly with our partners starting with the first hypertension molecular diagnostic test and followed by other exciting products in diagnostics and drug development", said Kari Paukkeri, CEO of the company.

Hypertensions prevalence rising

Between a quarter and a third of adults in developed countries suffer from hypertension, and this prevalence is on the rise. Hypertension starts to damage the heart, arteries, brains and kidneys already in childhood but is detectable by blood pressure measurements at the earliest in the adulthood.

Also, most current antihypertensive drugs are not usable by all hypertension patients because of lack of efficacy and adverse reactions. As these differences between individuals are of genetic origin, molecular diagnostic tests can help the physician to start treatment early and to select the drug of choice without the expensive and harmful trial-and-error method.

Mira Banerjee | alfa
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