Funded by: PCHRD
Project Leader: Eva Maria Cutiongco-dela Paz, MD

Several association studies have shown strong correlation between genetic variations and clinical parameters such as risk for diseases, response to medications, prognostic stratification and side effect prediction. Studies on genetic variations offer the opportunity to further optimize treatment and diagnostic strategies to individuals with cardiovascular diseases. Currently, there are thousands of markers associated with cardiovascular disease in published literature and HapMap database. However, the Filipino population is not well represented in previous studies. The validity of genetic tests should be verified in different population groups because of inter-ethnic variations. This is important if considerations on allelic frequencies and genetic risks are largely unknown and have to be approximated. Eventually, such considerations will determine the rationale and practicality of such testing among Filipinos.

The study investigates the prevalence and the behavior of genetic biomarkers in the Filipino population in relation to defined cardiovascular conditions, i.e. hypertension, coronary artery disease and dyslipidemia. The biomarkers are expected to provide means for better and earlier diagnosis of at risk individuals to provide more cost-efficient treatment strategies. Significant biomarkers obtained in this study can be used to develop genetic test kits that can be provided at the point of care using various molecular diagnostics platforms with the goal of shifting these tools toward health improvement at a lower cost.

The Cardiovascular Genomics Program is a pilot and pioneering candidate gene approach to characterize the Filipino population with regard to susceptibility to cardiovascular conditions as well as drug response. The results of this study will provide insights on possible mechanisms that govern the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases among Filipinos, and may hopefully guide future directions and priorities for such studies in the future. The study group invites interested participants with histories of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and high blood cholesterol from the different clinics and wards of the Philippine General Hospital, and from private clinics. Potential participants are interviewed and hospital charts are reviewed to determine if they belong in one of seventeen subgroups, with each subgroup exhibiting response or non-response to certain types of medication, including angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), ACE inhibitors (ACEi), calcium-channel blockers (CCBs), beta-blockers (BBs), aspirin, clopidogrel, warfarin and HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins). Aside from response, presence of adverse effects such as ACEi-induced cough and statin-induced myopathy are also being investigated.