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Discovery of New Gene Locus Associated with LDL-cholesterol Levels Could Lead to New Treatments

LONDON, Feb. 7, 2008--The discovery of a new gene locus associated with levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood could aid the development of new drugs to fight cardiovascular disease. These are the conclusions of authors of an Article in this week’s edition of The Lancet.

Increased LDL-cholesterol concentrations can cause cardiovascular disease, and previous studies have shown the clinical benefit of lowering concentrations of LDL cholesterol in the blood. Thus, improved understanding of the biological mechanisms that underlie the metabolism and regulation of LDL cholesterol might help to identify novel therapeutic targets.

Dr Manjinder Sandhu, Department of Public Health & Primary Care and MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, UK, and colleagues did a genome-wide association study of LDL-cholesterol concentrations. Their analysis used genetic data from 11 685 participants across five studies.

The researchers found evidence for an association between LDL-cholesterol and the chromosome region 1p13.3. The magnitude of the association was consistent across the studies examined, and showed independent evidence for statistical association in each study.

The authors conclude: "These results potentially provide insight into the biological mechanisms that underlie the regulation of LDL cholesterol and might help in the discovery of novel therapeutic targets for cardiovascular disease."

In an accompanying Comment, Dr Ronald Krauss, Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Oakland, CA, USA, says: "In addition to the identification of new treatment targets, the discovery of genetic polymorphisms that affect LDL and other markers of cardiovascular disease risk could provide a means to categorise specific phenotypes that might merit different treatments and to identify at-risk individuals."

Dr Manjinder Sandhu, Department of Public Health & Primary Care and MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, UK. T) +44 (0) 1223 741404

Laure Thomas, Senior Press Officer, Medical Research Council (MRC). T) +44 (0)207 670 5139

Comment Dr Ronald Krauss, Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Oakland, CA, USA. T) +1 510-450-7908

Comment Diana Yee, Media Relations Dept, Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute. T) +1 510 428-3120

manj.sandhu@srl.cam.ac.uk

Laure.Thomas@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk

rkrauss@chori.org

 

Posted: February 2008

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