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Using a patient's genetic code to identify those likely to benefit from preventive statin therapy

Dr Adam Nelson, Institution: Monash University

2021 Postdoctoral Fellowship  

Years funded: 2022-2023

Each year in Australia over 50,000 individuals experience a heart attack and consequently cardiovascular disease remains a leading driver of health care expenditure.  Prevention is an appealing approach to cardiovascular disease but knowing who is more or less likely to benefit from interventions like cholesterol-lowering medications such as statins, is incredibly difficult. Researchers have recently shown that the risk of future heart attacks may be predicted by looking at an individual's genetic code however its use in clinical care has never been tested. Dr Adam Nelson's study will evaluate whether patients with a higher genetic risk of heart disease are more likely to benefit from a preventive intervention with a statin. Demonstrating that such an approach is useful would completely transform the way in which risk is discussed with patients. Potentially this would encourage patients to personalize their treatment in an informed way, and at a population level, drive earlier and more effective intervention to achieve prevention of disease.

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