Progressive genetics study uncovers mechanism that changes heart disease, cholesterol levels
The company specializes in understanding and analyzing the human genome. In this case, its researchers analyzed the genomes, cholesterol levels and heart disease data that was gathered from 700,000 different people who live in seven different countries.
The study showed that there is a rare, 12-letter deletion from chromosome 17’s gene. People with this deletion have decreased non-HDL cholesterol levels. They also have a 35 percent lower risk of developing heart disease compared to the average citizen.
"This is a discovery with direct application to improving the health of people around the world," Kari Stefansson, founder and CEO of deCODE and senior author of the paper, said. "This is now a proven paradigm for developing new medicines that Amgen, the parent company of deCODE, has exploited in the discovery of medicines to treat osteoporosis, coronary artery disease and migraine. The drug discovery work at Amgen targeting ASGR1 is already exciting. It is based not on a beautiful hypothesis or lucky chemistry but on the direct insight that human genetics provides into the underlying biology of disease -- in this case, an important and previously unknown mechanism for modulating non-HDL cholesterol and risk of the most common and deadly forms of heart disease."