Genetics study to improve prediction of heart disease recruits 20000th participant

A team of researchers from our University and NIHR Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit (LCBRU) in conjunction with colleagues from Primary Care and Leicester and Leicestershire CCGs have recruited their 20,000th participant to a landmark genetics study.

The Genetics and Vascular Health Check study (GENVASC) aims to determine whether the addition of genetic information can better improve risk prediction of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and whether it is possible to identify those with spurious low risk through the addition of genetic information.

Chris Greengrass, Project Manager of the study, explains: “The GENVASC study capitalises on the unique opportunity provided by the NHS Health Check Programme, which is being widely promoted within Leicester and Leicestershire and specifically targets people aged 40-74 years who are free of cardiovascular disease.

“People taking part in the health check are simply asked to consent to provide an additional sample of blood at the time of their appointment so we can determine whether the addition of genetic information improves our ability to predict their risk for coronary disease.”

Through the team’s links with Arden and GEM, participants’ health outcomes can be followed up and matched to genetic variants that are known to affect a person’s risk of CAD, with much of this work having already been led by Leicester.

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Professor of Cardiology, Director of the Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit and Chief Investigator of the study said: “Using a simple, cost effective method for collecting genetic information, we are able to follow patients and see how their cardiovascular health is influenced by their genes. This means that in the future, people may be treated much earlier and more effectively through clearly targeted and tailored interventions.”