Article : Gene associated with increased stroke risk identified says study 
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 Article : Gene associated with increased stroke risk identified says study

AP) - Researchers in Iceland have identified a gene associated with
increased risk for stroke, the third leading cause of death in developed
countries that kills 160,000 people each year in the United States alone.
Those who have the stroke-susceptibility gene have a three to five times
greater risk of ischemic stroke, researchers at Reykjavik-based deCODE
Genetics said. In ischemic strokes, the flow of {*filter*} to the brain is
choked, causing cerebral tissue to die. Details appear Monday in the journal
Nature Genetics.

The discovery will not lead to immediate treatments, researchers cautioned.
However, the gene, PDE4D, produces an enzyme that can be targeted with
{*filter*}, suggesting future therapies are possible.

The study is the first convincing publication of a genetic risk factor for
common forms of stroke, said stroke neurologist Dr. Jonathan Rosand of
Massachusetts General Hospital.

It's an important clue that could help scientists develop treatments to
prevent and treat strokes, Rosand said Monday. "We're in desperate need of
better treatments," he said.

But he cautioned that such potential payoffs are years away. And he noted
that since the result comes from a single study in a single population, "we
cannot accept this as proven by any means until we see replication of this
result by other investigators in other populations."

Swiss pharmaceutical company F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. is already testing
such {*filter*} on rats to determine whether they could be used to prevent
strokes in humans. The class of {*filter*} is already in use in humans, but for
different purposes. The best known of the class is Viagra, prescribed to
treat impotence.

deCODE signed a deal worth up to $200 million US with Roche in 1998 to look
for genes that cause 12 common diseases, including stroke.

The deCODE stroke study involved several hundred people in Iceland who had
previously suffered a stroke. The strongest genetic association was found
for the gene PDE4D.

Researchers found that there are no variants in the gene itself that are
associated with stroke. They did discover that three different proteins made
by the gene were produced in lower levels in those affected by the disease,
however. That suggests the gene's role in increasing susceptibility to
stroke is subtle.

deCODE, set up in 1996 to scour Iceland's gene pool, has amassed a vast
amount of information on residents. It says it has mapped genes linked to 25
diseases and isolated genes associated with increased susceptibility to
roughly a half-dozen ailments.

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Mon, 13 Mar 2006 03:53:47 GMT
 
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