24-01-2008: Celera, an Applera Corporation business, announced three publications reporting that a variant of the gene encoding kinesin-like protein 6 (KIF6) is associated with up to a 55% increased risk of primary and recurrent coronary heart disease (CHD) events. These research studies included a total of more than 30,000 individuals, among whom about 60% are carriers of this risk variant. These research studies also showed that the excess risk associated with the KIF6 variant was virtually eliminated by pravastatin (Pravachol®) therapy and that high-dose atorvastatin (Lipitor®) therapy reduced risk in carriers of the KIF6 risk variant more effectively than moderate-dose pravastatin therapy in acute coronary syndrome patients. These papers are expected to appear in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The increased risk of clinical events observed in KIF6 carriers and its reduction by statin therapy was independent of other well-known CHD risk factors, including smoking, hypertension, cholesterol level, age and sex, further supporting the conclusion that a KIF6 gene variant is a new, independent predictor of risk for CHD and clinical benefit from statin therapy.
"These findings make a compelling case for testing for KIF6 status in the substantial number of Americans considered to be at moderate risk of developing heart disease based on traditional risk factors such as cholesterol levels and blood pressure," said Kathy Ordoñez, President of Celera. "Moreover, knowledge that the elevation in heart disease risk conveyed by the KIF6 gene variant can be virtually eliminated by statin therapy provides physicians with new genetic information in considering treatment options for their patients and also supports long-term therapy compliance among patients carrying the risk variant."
Berkeley HeartLab, which was recently acquired by Celera, is expected to offer a laboratory-developed test for the KIF6 gene variant in the coming months. Celera plans to pursue regulatory registration for a diagnostic product based on the same research findings.
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