NIH Awards $13.23 Million to Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute Scientist and Team
National, Interdisciplinary Team Finding New and Better Treatments for Heart Disease
September 8 , 2010
Oakland, Calif.– The National Institute of Health (NIH) Pharmacogenetics Research Network (PGRN) just awarded $13.23 million to Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) Senior Scientist Ronald Krauss, MD, for a five-year renewal of his grant, Pharmacogenomics and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease (PARC). Dr. Krauss and the national, interdisciplinary PARC team will use the grant to continue research into identifying a genetic basis for the wide variation in effectiveness of statin treatment for reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.
“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and largely due to changes in lifestyle, it is on the rise around the world, making it likely to become the leading cause of death worldwide in the next few years,” said Dr. Krauss. “As a result, the effective treatment of heart disease has a huge impact on global health and economics.”
Statins, among the largest selling classes of drugs worldwide, have been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce heart disease risk. Treatment has been shown to achieve a 30 to 40 percent reduction in heart disease in various populations but many do not gain benefit from treatment, and the PARC team is studying the extent to which this variation in effectiveness is influenced by genetics.
The PARC study is in line with the NIH PGRN program, which was established in 2000 in order to determine how genetic information can be utilized to maximize the benefits and minimize the risk of individual drugs across a variety of diseases and research fields. The goal of pharmacogenomics is to use genetic information to determine the safe and most effective treatment for each patient.
The PARC study combines an integrated consortium of expert researchers from multiple institutions, including CHORI, University of Washington, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Sage BioNetworks, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, University of Chicago, and Vanderbilt University with critical expertise in genomics, statistics, informational genetics and cardiovascular clinical practice.
“Our overall aim is to assemble a list of the genetic variants most strongly related to statin efficacy, in particular, to resistance to statins,” explained Dr. Krauss. “We can then determine whether or not these genetic markers are actually tied to clinical outcomes in different populations, which is really the reason d’être of the whole program.”
While Dr. Krauss believes that it will be some time before the findings from PARC will lead to routine clinical use of a genetic test to determine whether a given individual would be responsive to statin treatment, the research is also expected to identify new pathways affecting heart disease risk that could provide new and potentially better treatments.
About Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland
Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland is Northern California’s only independent not-for-profit regional medical center for children. Children’s Hospital Oakland is a national leader in many pediatric specialties and sub-specialties including hematology/oncology, neonatology, cardiology, orthopedics, sports medicine, and neurosurgery. The hospital is one of only two solely designated California Level 1 pediatric trauma centers with the largest pediatric inpatient critical care unit in the region. Children’s Hospital has 190 licensed beds, 201 hospital-based physicians in 30 specialties, more than 2,700 employees, and an annual operating budget of more than $350 million. Children’s is also a premier teaching hospital with an outstanding pediatric residency program and a number of unique Pediatric subspecialty fellowship programs.
Children’s research program, Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI), is internationally renowned for taking state-of-the-art basic and clinical research and translating it into interventions for treating and preventing human diseases. CHORI has 300 members of its investigative staff, a budget of about $50 million, and is ranked among the nation’s top 10 research centers in National Institutes of Health funding to children’s hospitals. For more information, go to www.childrenshospitaloakland.org and www.chori.org.
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