Canadian Scientific Discovery In The Battle To Defeat Cardiovascular Disease
Research and Innovations In November 2012, Swiss pharmaceutical company Hoffman-La Roche halted a major clinical study of dalcetrapib — a drug that raises “good cholesterol” — after failing to demonstrate any significant improvement in reducing cardiovascular disease.
This past January, Montreal researchers published the results of a study that suggest that dalcetrapib might still have clinical benefits. They found that in some patients with the right genetic background, the drug dramatically reduces the risk of stroke, heart attack, unstable angina, and death from vascular disease.
“I think that we’re opening a new book. I think we can almost say that this is chapter one of the book for personalized medicine in cardiology,” says lead investigator Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, director of the Montreal Heart Institute Research Centre.
"We're very excited because we feel that we made a discovery that is really opening the path towards personalization of cardiovascular medicine."
Heart health study
The results of the study show that patients who possess the AA variant of the ADCY9 gene benefit greatly from dalcetrapib, with a 39 percent reduction in clinical outcomes such as cardiovascular death, heart attack, unstable angina and atherosclerosis. While in patients with the GG variant of the gene, the drug caused a 27 percent increase in adverse cardiovascular events.
“This goes to show that the same drug can have opposite effects depending on your genetic profile,” says Dr. Tardif.
These results will lead to a prospective large-scale study to confirm the findings and allow regulatory review by health agencies.
“We’re very excited because we feel that we made a discovery that is really opening the path towards personalization of cardiovascular medicine; which I think is the way of the future. And now we’re embarking on this final prospective study to confirm all of it,” says Dr. Tardif.