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Health & Fitness

CAD Risk in Indian Population Using Genetic Makeup

As we all know, due to lifestyle changes and other factors, cardiovascular diseases are becoming extremely common nowadays. To identify how prone an individual is to a heart attack or coronary artery disease (CAD), the MedGenome Lab in India did research. The Bengaluru based company conducted the first Indian research that validates a novel CAD-PRS (Coronary Artery Disease Genome-Wide Polygenic Risk Score) to accurately indicate the risk of developing CAD using the genetic makeup of an individual. 

For the purpose of the research, the team collaborated with scientists at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Narayana Health; Eternal Hospital, Jaipur; Madras Medical Mission, Chennai; KMCH, Coimbatore and a few others. The findings of the research are published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC).

Dr. Vedam Ramprasad, the CEO, MedGenome Labs, said, “Looking at all the available scientific evidence and our study results we are convinced that there exists a good opportunity to combine both clinical and genetic risks (polygenic risk score based) and significantly improve the primary prevention of CAD.”

He further said that integrating validated polygenic risk scores will help in the better stratification of high-risk individuals if it is implemented at the population level. The research is based on Genome-wide PRS that analyses the genome of an individual to identify the risk of developing CAD or heart attack.

In a statement released by the firm, MedGenome said, “It was conducted in the South Asian population in 1,800 confirmed CAD cases and 1,163 control samples from five centers across the country with a median age between 54-55 years. The findings of this study have helped develop a CAD PRS that integrates information from millions of sites of common DNA variation into a single metric that can be calculated from birth and validate a scalable polymeric framework score in India. The findings lay the scientific and operational foundation for clinical implementation not just for CAD but for other diseases too.”

Dr. Sekar Kathiresan, CEO, Verve Therapeutics and professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, said, “It provides a quantified risk score based on one’s genetic makeup and predicts a patients’ risk for having an acute coronary event, such as a heart attack before symptoms appear. CAD PRS is an important new risk factor to help physicians stratify high-risk patients and better guide treatment decisions and lifestyle interventions.”

According to the findings of the research, 10.5% of the Indian population, or about 32 million people are at a high risk of developing CAD. Furthermore, the research claims that the numbers in the urban population have surged from 2% to 10.5% in the past few years.

Dr. Ajit Mullasari, director of Adult Cardiology, Madras Medical Mission, said, “South Asians no matter where they stay-in India or in any other country always have higher risks of CAD than Caucasians. Even if our body structure is much leaner, smaller, and thus comparatively lower food consumed compared to Caucasians, we still end up with CAD. So, it can be considered that South Asians have some genetic issues causing high CAD cases and hence we need to identify these genetic factors so that we are able to manage the disease in our population.”

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