Using IL-1 genotypes to predict cardiovascular events

Findings of study by Interleukin Genetics enhance the understanding of the role of genetics in cardiovascular disease

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WALTHAM, Mass.—Interleukin Genetics Inc., a life-sciences company focused on the genetics of chronic inflammation, announced recently the presentation of clinical data from The Ioannina Study at the 66th Annual Scientific Session & Expo of the American College of Cardiology  in Washington, D.C. Specifically, the data demonstrate the ability of certain interleukin-1 (IL-1) genetic patterns together with elevated lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a), to predict recurrent atherosclerotic cardiac events. Dr. Aris Bechlioulis and co-workers reported the new findings from the University Hospital of Ioannina in Greece, along with collaborators from the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego).
“We are excited to report these findings, which enhance our understanding of the role of genetics in cardiovascular disease. The IL-1 genetics provide a more specific tool to predict the risk of secondary coronary events at the patient level,” said Dr. Sotirios Tsimikas of the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases of UC San Diego in La Jolla, Calif. “This data suggests that increased risk associated with elevated Lp(a) levels is conditional on knowing a patient’s IL-1 genotype, thus providing additional insights to predict future cardiac events and manage their treatment more effectively.”
In the longitudinal study (median time 43 months) of 1,084 patients who underwent diagnostic coronary angiography, non-diabetics with elevated levels of Lp(a) who also tested positive for pro-inflammatory IL-1 genetic patterns had a statistically significant increased risk for secondary cardiac events, including myocardial infarctions, strokes and death, than did patients without the two risk factors. Findings from The Ioannina Study corroborate the results of an earlier study published in 2014 of 499 patients treated at the Mayo Clinic. 
“Many years of scientific inquiry have produced important insights into the roles of inflammation and oxidized lipids in the complex disease process within the walls of the coronary arteries,” says Kenneth Kornman, chief scientific officer of Interleukin Genetics. “We are pleased to see further evidence of the critical role of the IL-1 genotype and Lp(a) levels in predicting recurrent cardiac events. We believe this information is essential to improving the identification and treatment of patients at increased risk for secondary cardiac events.”
According to Interleukin’s website, “In patients with elevated Lp(a), recurrent cardiovascular events are conditional on pro-inflammatory IL-1 genetic patterns. Elevated Lp(a) has a causal role in atherosclerotic CVD supported by strong human genetic and epidemiological evidence. 40 to 60 percent of individuals, depending on ethnic/racial background, carry IL-1 genetic patterns that overproduce IL-1β.  Lp(a) levels can’t be reduced by statins or diet modifications, but new therapeutics based on PCSK9 inhibitors have been developed by multiple pharmaceutical companies. These drugs have been shown to reduce Lp(a) levels by 25 to 30 percent.  Our patented IL-1 genetic risk test and expanded cardiovascular genetic panel are providing key insights into prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease and the overarching problems of systemic inflammation.”
“Our proprietary genetic test holds the potential for significant clinical value through identifying patients at risk and selecting appropriate drug interventions,” says Mark Carbeau, CEO of Interleukin Genetics. “We intend to capture value through collaborations with pharmaceutical, biotechnology and clinical testing companies.”  
Interleukin Genetics’ tests for chronic inflammatory diseases and other conditions can provide information that may not be otherwise available, the company says, in order to empower individuals and their healthcare providers to manage health and wellness through genetics-based insights and actionable guidance, including pharmacogenomics information to guide development and use of therapeutics.

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