School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

School of Medicine researchers participate in landmark multi-center study on genetics of vascular diseases

Wayne State University School of Medicine researchers helped determine that a genetic condition associated with an increased risk of heart attack can also be a prime indicator of aneurysms.

Aneurysms are a ballooning of arteries in the abdomen or head that are potentially lethal if they are left untreated and burst.

The study, published in the online edition of Nature Genetics ( this week, determined that people who inherit the gene code from one parent are 30 percent more likely to have an aneurysm. Those who inherit the condition from both parents are 70 percent more likely to suffer an aneurysm.

The finding could lead to earlier testing and treatment for people prone to developing aneurysms.

Wayne State University School of Medicine Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics researchers Helena Kuivaniemi and Gerard Tromp have been studying aneurysms for 15 years, and worked with deCODE, a biopharmaceutical company that applies discoveries in genetics to the development of drugs and diagnostics for diseases. The deCODE team includes academic researchers from Iceland, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and other sites in the U.S., including WSUSOM.

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