Five new genes could show risk of CAD

23 September 2011

Investigators are reported to have found five new genes that affect the risk of developing coronary artery disease (CAD) and heart attacks.

Due to be published in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics, the study found information to add to the list of over 30 genes that affect the risk of developing CAD and heart attacks. The findings provide new insights and understanding of the causal biological pathways that cause heart disease.

Led by co-principal researcher Professor Nilesh Samani, British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiology at the University of Leicester, UK, the research analysed 49,094 genetic variants in 2,100 genes of cardiovascular relevance, including cases of coronary artery disease.

The investigation was funded by the British Heart Foundation and the National Institute for Health Research in the UK, with added funding from the National Institutes of Health in the US.

Professor Hugh Watkins, who was involved in the study, said: "Although the effects of the new genetic variants that we have identified are individually small, in the order of five to ten per cent per copy, new treatments that are developed on the basis of the findings could have a much broader effect."

CAD happens when the arteries that supply blood to heart muscle become hardened and narrowed.

By Jeanette Royston


Samani, N. et al, "Large-Scale Gene-Centric Analysis Identifies Novel Variants for Coronary Artery Disease", PLoS Genetics, September 22nd 2011.

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