More Than 200 New Genes Discovered

Finnish company Jurilab has announced the completion of a genome-wide scan in Acute Myocardial Infarction in the East Finland Founder Population. The study gives invaluable insight into the interplay of different genes and pathways leading to coronary disease. The study has re-affirmed the majority of genes previously known to be associated with AMI. The new genes discovered include also ones, which appear to give humans a strong protection against coronary disease.

“These discoveries open up a new chapter in the development of predictive tests and much improved therapeutics for coronary heart disease”, said Professor Jukka T. Salonen, Jurilab’s chief scientific officer, and “The successful AMI GWS constitutes a proof-of-concept for Jurilab’s fast and inexpensive gene discovery approach. We are in the process of carrying out similar studies in our main focus areas of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases”.

DNA samples collected from homogenous Eastern Finland

The DNA samples used in the study were collected in the 1980’s from a genetically-homogenous population that can be accurately traced back to a few hundred founders in the 1600’s. In the study, coronary events recorded prospectively during almost 20 years in families with several members having coronary disease, were compared with extremely healthy controls.

The prospective study design is invaluable in that it eliminates a bias, which is commonly present in conventional case-control studies. 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. Jurilab’s proprietary data-mining software was used in the statistical analysis.

The study was supported by Tekes (National Technology Agency of Finland) and carried out in collaboration with the University of Kuopio. Jurilab participated in Tekes’ Diagnostics 2000 Technology Programme. Technology programme focused on clinical diagnostics and its budget was EUR 33 million.

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