AstraZeneca Partners in Cardio and Diabetes ResearchBy
AstraZeneca has formed a collaboration with the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) in Quebec, Canada, to search the genomes of up to 80,000 patients for genes associated with cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, their complications, and treatment outcomes. This is one of the largest such screens of its type to date and will drive understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying these conditions and their complications. The analysis will also uncover which genetic traits are linked to better treatment outcomes.
Under the collaboration, MHI will genotype up to 80,000 DNA samples from AstraZeneca's biobank. The samples include both tissue and blood samples, which have been collected over a period of 12 years under informed consent from patients who have entered clinical trials to test cardiovascular or diabetes treatments.MHI's Beaulieu-Saucier Pharmacogenomics Centre will initially use an approach called genome-wide SNP analysis to identify regions of DNA that predispose to, or cause, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes or are associated with responses to treatments. They will then apply other technologies, such as next-generation sequencing, to carry out full gene sequencing of areas of interest to identify new genes associated with disease, with complications such as heart attacks, strokes, diabetic nephropathy or retinopathy, and with treatment outcomes in terms of responsiveness to medication.
The knowledge gained from genotyping the samples will be applied to the development of new medicines tailored to treat subsets of patients with particular genetic profiles. The information will also enable a personalised healthcare approach to the use of existing treatments, which means using specific medicines to treat the patient populations that are most likely to respond. Currently, approximately 80% of AstraZeneca's pipeline benefits from a personalized healthcare approach.