Genetics and Genes
David M. Herrington, MD, MHS, a leader in women’s cardiovascular disease research, is heading a $10 million, multicenter study to identify genes that might contribute to early atherosclerosis. The study is funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Researchers are examining DNA from individuals who participated in a previous study to determine if there are genetic variations in people who had early heart disease compared with those who did not. Finding these genetic markers may mean that patients who are headed for heart disease could be treated with appropriate preventative therapies.
The end-stage result from atherosclerotic heart disease is congestive heart failure, a condition that afflicts more than five million Americans. Cardiologists at Wake Forest Baptist are helping to develop novel therapies to deal with this devastating disease.
Vinay Thohan, MD, medical director of the heart transplant program, is coordinating efforts on an experimental treatment that will transfer genes into heart failure patients to replace damaged proteins involved with normal heart muscle function. The hope of the experimental clinical trial is to use gene therapy to safely improve heart function.