Celera Diagnostics Identifies Novel Genetic Markers Linked to Increased Risk of Heart Attack
Discoveries Presented at the International Vascular Biology Meeting; Expanded Understanding of Disease Biology Creates Diagnostic and Therapeutic Opportunities
ALAMEDA, CA - June 03, 2004
Scientists from Celera Diagnostics presented data linking genetic variations in two genes with increased risk for myocardial infarction (MI) or heart attack, at the International Vascular Biology Meeting in Toronto. Celera Diagnostics, a joint venture between the Applied Biosystems Group (NYSE:ABI) and Celera Genomics Group (NYSE:CRA) of Applera Corporation, conducted the study in collaboration with researchers from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and the University of California, San Francisco.
The findings presented are the latest in a series of communications regarding myocardial infarction and other cardiovascular disease related discoveries by Celera Diagnostics and its collaborators. The poster presented in Toronto and a summary of Celera Diagnostics’ previous findings related to risk of MI are available online at: http://www.celeradiagnostics.com/cdx/study_results. Celera Diagnostics has ongoing association studies in several cardiovascular indications utilizing over 19,000 samples to support these efforts. Additional findings related to stroke will be presented at the World Stroke Congress in Vancouver, BC on June 25, 2004.
"Myocardial infarction remains a major cause of death and disability in the United States and other countries. New DNA diagnostics using multiple markers to identify individuals at increased risk, and therefore in need of medical interventions, represent an important objective in medicine today," said Stephen G. Ellis, MD, Director of the Sones Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
Kathy Ordoñez, President of Celera Diagnostics, added, “Our association studies are broadening our understanding of the underlying biology of cardiovascular disease, and producing opportunities to create diagnostic and therapeutic value. To deliver on the promise of Targeted Medicine, we must translate these exciting discoveries into clinical practice. We are working with Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX) and other collaborators to identify the most informative constellation of markers associated with MI. In conjunction with scientists at Celera Genomics, we are also considering the therapeutic potential of these and other markers.”
Summary of Scientific Findings
The two genetic markers, or single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), presented include a SNP in the aquaporin 10 gene (AQP10), which is associated with a two fold increased risk for MI. The second SNP is in KIAA1462, a gene of unknown function. Each of these SNPs confers a risk for MI comparable to conventional risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels.
These genetic markers were identified through an association study of more than 9,000 functional SNPs. Celera Diagnostics evaluated DNA samples from more than 1,400 individuals to compare patterns of genetic variation in people with a history of MI to those with no history of chronic heart disease. The results were replicated in a separate sample collection of over 1,000 individuals.
About Myocardial Infarction
Commonly known as a heart attack, myocardial infarction occurs when a coronary artery is blocked, restricting blood flow to the heart. This year an estimated 650,000 Americans will experience their first coronary attack, according to the American Heart Association.
MI is a multi-factorial disease associated with both environmental and genetic factors. Some of the major risk factors associated with MI include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and obesity.
Prevention of the disease is focused on management of risk factors. Recommended lifestyle changes include quitting smoking, exercising and following a healthy diet. Over 40 million people worldwide take lipid-lowering drugs (statins) and studies have shown that statins can significantly reduce risk for coronary heart disease (CHD). Yet, less than half of the people who qualify for any kind of lipid-modifying treatment for CHD risk are receiving it, the American Heart Association reports in its Heart Disease & Stroke Statistics – 2004 Update.
About Celera Diagnostics and Applera Corporation
Celera Diagnostics is a 50/50 joint venture between two Applera Corporation businesses, Applied Biosystems and Celera Genomics. Headquartered in Alameda, CA, Celera Diagnostics focuses on discovering novel genetic markers for disease and configuring these into new diagnostic tests to predict, characterize, monitor and select therapy for cardiovascular disease, auto-immunity, central nervous system disorders, and cancer. The Celera Genomics Group, located in Rockville, MD, and South San Francisco, CA, is engaged principally in integrating advanced technologies to discover and develop new therapeutics. Celera intends to leverage its proteomics, bioinformatics, and genomics capabilities to identify and validate drug targets, and to discover and develop novel therapeutic candidates. Its Celera Discovery System™ online platform, marketed exclusively by Applied Biosystems, is an integrated source of information based on the human genome and other biological and medical sources. The Applied Biosystems Group serves the life science industry and research community by developing and marketing instrument-based systems, consumables, software, and services. Customers use these tools to analyze nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), small molecules, and proteins to make scientific discoveries, develop new pharmaceuticals, and conduct standardized testing. Applied Biosystems is headquartered in Foster City, CA, and reported sales of $1.7 billion during fiscal 2003. Information about Applera Corporation, including reports and other information filed by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, is available at www.applera.com, or by telephoning 800.762.6923.
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