SINGAPORE: Cardiologists in Singapore are leading the first large-scale study to identify genetic variations which may make Asians more vulnerable to heart failure.
Patients with heart failure tend to have abnormal hearts which fall into one of two categories.
The patient could have a heart which has problems pumping blood, or a heart that has trouble relaxing between heart beats.
Researchers hope to predict a patient's heart condition by finding the genetic variations between these two types of heart failures.
Understanding genetics can also lead to targeted treatments.
Director of Cardiovascular Research Institute at National University Heart Centre Singapore, Professor Mark Richards, said that the study will take DNA samples from up to 8,000 patients across the Asia Pacific, including Japan, India and China, over five years.
He said: "The efforts that have been done to date… are confined to sub-studies from Western populations. They have found through these studies perhaps two or three candidate gene variations. We don't know if those actually occur in Asian populations at all. And we don't know if they are consistently found in even Western populations because there are only one or two reports. We need to verify this."
The study will put researchers in a position to compare both Asian and Western findings.
This research on genetic backgrounds is part of a S$9 million grant for studies to improve the prediction of heart failure as well as to identify new treatments. The research grant also covers animal studies as well as potential biomarkers for heart failure. - CNA/jc
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