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The genetics of myocardial infarctions

LabBrasil_Coracaoleonardo da vinci / reproduçãoA few years from now it might be possible to resort to the genetic profile to predict who has the highest risk of having a myocardial infarction and to determine the most efficient ways of avoiding this heart problem. This is the expectation of Mario H. Hirata and his team from the College of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of São Paulo. In collaboration with researchers from São Paulo City’s Instituto Dante Pazzanese de Cardiologia cardiology institute and from Spain’s University of Santiago de Compostela, he is analyzing the activity level of genes (transcriptome) in search of a signature for myocardial infarctions – he has already found some more active genes and some less active ones in the blood samples of ten patients diagnosed with acute myocardial infarction. “It is important to discover that the heart problem happened because specific proteins did not function adequately,”  says the researcher, who was unable to provide more details on this research work prior to its publication. Another finding is that the transcriptome of a patient who had a myocardial infarction for the first time is different from the one of patients who have already undergone another such attack. If the team finds the route that leads to the second myocardial infarction, perhaps it will be possible to find specific treatment to prevent the problem from repeating itself. In Hirata’s opinion, prevention is essential, because 20% of the patients die before reaching the hospital and because hospital stays account for the biggest expense incurred by the Sistema Único de Saúde, the Brazilian national health care system.