Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common form of heart disease in Europe and the US. It is caused by a narrowing of the arteries due to deposits of fat and cholesterol, preventing enough blood reaching the heart. Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath and numbness in the arms and shoulders, and the disease can lead to heart attack.
However, whilst scientists know that high fat and high cholesterol diets play a significant role in the disease, they do not understand fully what makes some people more susceptible to the disease than others. They believe that many factors contribute, both environmental and genetic.
"Coronary artery disease is a major health issue in the Western world and we want to get to the root of what causes it," says Professor Dominique Gauguier from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at the University of Oxford. "It is a complex disease, so it's impossible to say 'We've found the gene for CAD'. Rather, it is caused by a number of factors, including the interaction of genes with other genes and with the environment."
Professor Gauguier, a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow, is leading an international consortium, known as Functional Genomic Diagnostic Tools for Coronary Artery Disease (FGENTCARD). The project, which has received €3 million over 3 years from the European Commission, involves academic and industrial scientists from the UK, France, Denmark and Lebanon.
The consortium will use the latest technologies for analysing DNA to identify those at risk from CAD. These include functional genomics, taking a sequence of the genome and analysing the function of individual genes and their interaction with other genes to understand the role they play in disease.
Amongst other things, the study will look at the extent to which CAD risk factors, such as insulin resistance, hypertension and obesity, can be predicted using biomarkers in the blood. Scientists have already identified biomarkers which, when found in elevated levels, indicate the presence of certain types of tumour.
In addition, Professor Gauguier hopes that the study will offer an insight into tackling other complex diseases, through therapeutic and strategic means.
"We believe the study will play a key role in identifying targets for novel therapies to tackle the disease," says Professor Gauguier. "Ultimately, we hope that the wealth of information obtained by the project and the techniques that it helps us develop will lead to significant advances for disease diagnosis and prevention."
FGENTCARD builds on previous Wellcome Trust-funded research including BAIR, the Biological Atlas of Insulin Resistance, and CFG, the Cardiovascular Functional Genomics consortium.
Craig Brierley | alfa
Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
What does congenital Zika syndrome look like?
24.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy