deCODE study published this month reveals the strongest genetic linkage ever found to the common form of the condition.
Reykjavik, ICELAND, June 26, 2002 — deCODE genetics (Nasdaq/Nasdaq Europe:DCGN) today announced that a team of its scientists has located a gene contributing to high blood pressure. The gene was mapped to a small region on chromosome 18, which previous studies have suggested may play a role in blood pressure regulation in humans, mice and rats. The discovery is thus an important and encouraging advance in understanding the human genetics of high blood pressure, which affects roughly one in four adults in the industrialized world and is a leading risk factor for heart attack and stroke. An article reporting the findings, “Linkage of essential hypertension to chromosome 18q,” authored by the deCODE team and collaborating cardiologists from Iceland’s National University Hospital, is published in the latest edition of the American Heart Association journal Hypertension. The article is available online at www.hypertensionaha.org.
deCODE is analyzing the locus to identify and characterize the gene involved. The company plans to employ its findings to develop new treatments as well as DNA-based diagnostic products that can assist in clinical diagnosis, indicate predisposition to high blood pressure, and permit the prescription of the most effective medications for individual patients. High blood pressure and related conditions represent one of the world’s biggest public health problems, an area of significant unmet medical need and a growing, multibillion-dollar therapeutic market.
The deCODE study is the largest population genetic study ever carried out in patients with essential hypertension – high blood pressure without a known secondary cause – and reports the strongest genome-wide linkage of any research on this condition to date. From a list of more than 5000 Icelandic patients receiving treatment for hypertension, deCODE used its genealogy database of the Icelandic population to draw up 120 extended families with a high incidence of the condition. Nearly 500 volunteer patients and more than 300 unaffected relatives were genotyped with 900 microsatellite markers. Additional markers were then analyzed in a small region on chromosome 18 showing significant linkage to the disease. Patients from just over half of the families in the study appear to be sharing a genetic factor at this locus, suggesting that it may be an important factor in the onset of the condition.
“Virtually all of us know about high blood pressure and the danger it poses to health, either because we suffer from it ourselves or know someone who does. The discovery we are reporting is an important contribution to unravelling the human genetics of heart disease and a step towards applying this knowledge to develop new diagnostic tools, drugs and prevention strategies,” said Dr. Kari Stefansson, CEO of deCODE. “This study underscores yet again the power of our population approach and unrivalled genotyping capabilities for homing in on key genetic factors underlying the most common, most broadly-defined diseases. It will also help us to develop a new understanding of the relationship between high blood pressure and related conditions such as high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes, heart attack and stroke. We plan to apply the findings announced today to create and bring to market new products that can better treat and prevent high blood pressure and other related diseases.”
deCODE genetics is using population genomics to create a new paradigm for healthcare. With its uniquely comprehensive population data, deCODE is turning research on the genetic causes of common diseases into a growing range of products and services — in gene discovery, pharmaceuticals, DNA-based diagnostics, pharmacogenomics, in silico discovery tools, bioinformatics and medical decision support systems. deCODE is delivering on the promise of the new genetics.SM Visit us on the web at www.decode.com.
Any statements contained in this presentation that relate to future plans, events or performance are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, among others, those relating to technology and product development, integration of acquired businesses, market acceptance, government regulation and regulatory approval processes, intellectual property rights and litigation, dependence on collaborative relationships, ability to obtain financing, competitive products, industry trends and other risks identified in deCODE’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. deCODE undertakes no obligation to update or alter these forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.