Leer en: Español

Stem Cells in Focus

Connecting Genetics and Heart Disease

By Maya Chaddah | August 5, 2014
Expert Contributor: Chad Cowan, PhD

Scientists and clinicians have long suspected and recently confirmed that a person’s genetic makeup contributes to the likelihood of their having a heart attack. However, there has remained a gap between our knowledge of genetic indicators and medicine; a gap that Dr. Chad Cowan, of Harvard University, is trying to bridge with stem cell research.

Stem Cells in Focus Webcast

2014-07-31 Cowan Photo_crop

Connecting Genetics and Heart Disease

Chad Cowan, PhD, Harvard University, USA

Learn more about the research and its potential, and pose your questions directly to Dr. Cowan, during a live public webcastThursday, August 7 at 1:30 pm ET (USA).

According to Dr. Cowan,what we know about genetics is not the full picture. We do not yet fully understand how a given gene functions within a cell or how it affects other genes. He believes the study of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) – adult stem cells that are reprogrammed in such a way that they can generate most other cell types found within the body – will result in better and more personalized approaches to treat  heart attacks.

The foundation of Dr. Cowan’s research began over 60 years ago, with the Framingham Heart Study. The death rates from heart disease and heart attacks had been increasing steadily since the beginning of the century, but not much was known about the general causes. The objective of the study was to identify contributing factors by following the development of the disease over a long period of time in a large group of participants.

The study began in 1948 with 5,209 citizens, aged 30-62, from Framingham, Massachusetts, USA, who had not yet developed overt symptoms of cardiovascular disease or suffered a heart attack or stroke. They each had an initial physical examination and lifestyle interview, and then returned every two years thereafter for physical examinations, medical histories and laboratory tests.  In 1971, the study was expanded to include a second generation, the original participants’ adult children and their spouses. The study continues to enroll a third generation of participants and to increase its diversity.

Three years ago, Dr. Cowan’s group teamed up the Framingham Heart Study to learn more about how different genetic factors influence cholesterol levels in the blood, and to look for—and test—drugs that might help lower blood cholesterol. Using a technique called cellular reprogramming, his group made iPS cells from over 60 second generation study participants, which were then used to create patient-specific liver cells and heart cells.

Dr. Cowan’s team had earlier identified a variant of the SORT1 gene that influences cholesterol levels in the blood and, thus, risk of heart disease. They have since proposed that the variant increases the amount of the SORT1 gene product (called Sortilin 1) in the liver, and that increasing Sortilin 1 levels reduces the cholesterol secreted into the blood, decreasing the likelihood of a heart attack. In bearing out this hypothesis, they are studying iPS cell-derived liver cells with and without the gene variant to determine whether there is a difference in cholesterol levels.

Dr. Cowan believes his iPS cells, and the liver and heart cells made from them, together with study participants’ medical histories, will continue to improve our understanding of heart disease, inform the development of new drugs and enable us to screen drugs for safety and efficacy against individual patients.  

17 comments

Leave a comment
  1. valerie.barksdale | Nov 25, 2017
    Things are very open and intensely clear explanation of issues. was truly information.  Do My Law Projects   Your website is very beneficial.
  2. John Edward | Nov 25, 2017
    Pretty helpful material,  Java Programming Assignment Help Assistance much thanks for this article
  3. Alisa Alana | Nov 24, 2017
    online video generation devices and stages that can really make the best promo recordings for any sorts of products.promo video services apparatuses and stages that can really make the best promo recordings for any sorts of items.
  4. Natasha Aiken | Nov 24, 2017
    I think  Heat disease resembles some other muscle in body. It needs a satisfactory blood supply to give oxygen with the goal that the muscle can contract and direct blood to whatever remains of the body. Not exclusively does the heart direct blood to whatever is left of the body, it additionally draws blood to itself by means of the coronary supply routes. well i am a writer and provide Help With Assignment Writing to students. 

  5. Managerial Accounting help | Nov 23, 2017
    Great info! I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment.  Managerial Accounting help I don’t know what to say except that I have
  6. Orlando Wood Floor Water Damage | Nov 23, 2017
    Well thanks for posting such an outstanding idea. Orlando Wood Floor Water Damage I like this blog & I like the topic and thinking of making it right.
  7. filton | Nov 22, 2017
    Its evident from prominent researchers and scholars work that these 2 hae a string relation in some of the advance and latest findings.Hope to see a permanent solution soon.
    order assignments
  8. Ashley Chad | Nov 20, 2017

    Many different types of heart disease can be crossed down through members of family. Some are caused by just one or a few genetic changes that have a very strong effect in causing disease. Known as monogenic conditions, they include uncommon disorders....

    Write my Assignment

  9. wondergirl | Nov 20, 2017
    Heart disease can be improved, or even prevented, by making certain lifestyle changes. The changes can help anyone who wants to improve their heart health. In addition to healthy lifestyle changes, remember the importance of regular medical checkups. Early detection and treatment can set the stage for a lifetime of better heart health.  Assignment doer uk 
  10. JACKSON | Nov 20, 2017
    Appreciative for sharing this data. I truly like your blog an area particularly. You have truly shared an enlightening and charming on the web diary section with individuals.  godaddy 12 dollar hosting
  11. dedi galih wisnumurti | Nov 16, 2017
    Nice post. I learn something more challenging on distinct blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to read content off their writers and practice a little something from their store. I’d choose to use some with all the content in my small weblog whether you do not mind. Natually I’ll provide a link on your own internet weblog. Many thanks sharing.1. Jasa SEO2. Jasa SEO3. Google SEO4. Jasa Pembuatan WebsiteDAN INI TUKANG NYEPAM KAMI1. Sewa Villa Di Puncak2. Villa Puncak
  12. Alina Frandus | Nov 15, 2017
    heart disease is genetics. because when you were a baby and what happened i'm not going to go through all of it for you because it is too much to explain but i'm not going to explain but its your parents fault because they were eating unhealthy and that's why you are going to have heart disease for the rest of your life, it is a sad thing to realize and the first thing Ez Assignment Online Writers UK would say that the first thing i did when if sound out is i blamed my parents and i want to let you know there is co morbidity for diabetes and i know you are going to be really upset with your parents. so if you eat cheerios its going to help. thank yo for this. go buy cheerios.
  13. StephenMartin | Nov 14, 2017
    The first is to better comprehend the pathophysiology of coronary supply route illness with the expectation that this information will lead the advancement of new helpful specialists, for example, solutions that would back off or stop the arrangement of plaque in heart vessels. The second is to utilize a patient's hereditary profile related with coronary conduit illness to better comprehend whether they will create coronary artery disease over the long haul. dissertation editing online | DissertationTime
  14. David Allen | Nov 07, 2017

    The possibility of developing heart disease can be diminished by finding a way to counteract and control factors that put individuals at more serious risk. Helpinessays.com

  15. Hut | Nov 07, 2017
    Thanks to the author and likewise to the site's creators  tellpizzahut.com
  16. Flower | Nov 07, 2017
    This is a wonderful article is provide the best information how to avoid the heart diseases. PhD doctors are used to this https://legitimate-writing-services.blogspot.com/2017/09/essay-companycom-review.html website for doing the different researches how to cover the heart diseases. Mostly heart attack is occurrence due to the tension.  
  17. Talakkwe | Nov 05, 2017

    Excellent !! really nice posts! thanks

    192.168.l.l

    Leave a comment