A team of US researchers and their collaborators have identified genes that play key roles in the development of coronary artery disease, the top cause of death worldwide.
The University of Virginia (UVA) researchers' findings essentially pick culprits responsible for coronary artery disease (CAD) out of a far, far larger lineup of potential genetic suspects, giving scientists promising targets as they work to develop new and better treatments.
"Genetic studies done in more than 1 million people in the last 15 years identified hundreds of locations on our chromosomes that increase the risk of having a heart attack," said senior researcher Mete Civelek, UVA's Center for Public Health Genomics and the Department of Biomedical Engineering.
"We now identified the genes that are responsible for this risk at these locations. We will be able to use these findings as new therapeutic targets," Civelek added in a paper published in Circulation Research journal.
Coronary artery disease is caused by the buildup of fatty plaques in the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart, but the genetic (inherited) factors that contribute to its development remain murky.