Genetic test better than blood test at identifying cardiovascular disease 

Posted: 16th September 2021

Researchers for Germany’s Uppsala University have found that a simple genetic test can identify patients at risk of experiencing cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases more accurately than current approaches. Analysing over 500,000 samples from the UK Biobank, researchers found that by identifying key biomarkers in a patients blood sample, they could identify inherited variations that increase individual risk. The findings could inspire new diagnostic approaches and further strengthens the potential for personalised genetic testing.

While scientists have established that certain patients with certain blood groups are at a greater risk of developing certain serious medical conditions, including pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis and certain types of cancer, they have struggled to understand why. 

To further understanding, a team of researchers from Uppsala University analysed half a million samples from the UK Biobank. Specifically, the authors aimed to identify associations between specific ABO genotypes and common cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases. The team analysed whether ABO “contributed significantly” to the risk for 24 diseases and 438 plasma proteins.

 “Our study confirmed previous findings of a strong association between ABO and cardiovascular disease, identified associations for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes,” said Julia Höglund, the author of the study and a doctoral student at the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology at Uppsala University.

According to the authors, the research lays out the limitations of traditional blood analysis based on a simple antibody test. The reason is that antibody tests fail to determine inherited variations that are crucial to individual risk of developing serious health conditions. “These results show the need of incorporating ABO genotype information in the consultation and management of patients at risk, rather than classifying patients into blood groups, says Höglund. 

The study illustrates the power and potential of genetic testing to improve diagnosis and treatment. “Our findings show that by making it standard to determine the patient’s blood group and the blood group’s genetics, we would be able to discover and begin treating diseases at an early stage, which can prevent or delay serious complications,” says Höglund. 

At Biocentaur, we’re pioneering the use of genetic testing to help predict a person’s risk of developing medical problems, including several serious cardiovascular conditions. Like the test used in the experiment, our PrediSpot test uses advanced techniques to identify genetic variations in a blood sample. Our scientists search for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are associated with an increased risk of developing life-threatening health conditions.

The insights provided by our PrediSpot test can be used to provide essential information that can help patients make better choices for their future health and wellbeing.

You can learn more about our range of personalised genetic tests here.

You can read the full paper, Characterization of the human ABO genotypes and their association to common inflammatory and cardiovascular diseases in the UK Biobank, here.

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