An Indian-origin researcher, Dr. Nilesh Samani and his team of scientists have created a genetic tool to predict heart disease and also calculating the genetic risk score of people.

The new tool can calculate the genetic risk score of people likely to develop coronary heart disease, identifying the problem much earlier and improving its prevention. This advance genetic tool, if successful may pave way for early and personalized preventive interventions.

The study from University of Leicester in the UK is the first to look at a much larger number of SNPs to give a fuller picture of an individual’s genetic risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD). This is the first really large study showing the potential benefits of using a genetic risk score over and above current methods to identify people at increased risk of coronary heart disease,” said Dr. Nilesh Samani, Professor at the University of Leicester, England. “This study shows the potential benefits of using a genetic risk score over and above current methods to identify people at increased risk of coronary heart disease. We already know that CHD starts at an early age, several decades before symptoms develop, and preventative measures should ideally be applied much earlier, especially to those who are at increased risk,” Dr. Samani added.

Importantly, the recent advances in genetics have led to the identification of many Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) – very small differences in the DNA that vary from person to person. By looking at approximately 50,000 SNPs, researchers created a score, known as a genomic risk score (GRS) and showed that the higher the GRS the higher the future risk of CHD. The researchers showed that the GRS was independent of the clinical risk scores and by combining the two risk score tools they were better able to predict people who were at risk of developing CHD in the next 10-years.

The research was published in the European Heart Journal.

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