Funded by the MRC (c£2.3m) and the British Heart Foundation (£1.1m).
High blood pressure (hypertension) is extremely common within the general population in the UK and worldwide and is a major cause of heart disease, kidney disease and stroke. One in three of the UK population will require treatment for hypertension at some point in their lives.
It’s the biggest contributor to the global burden of disease, a burden that is particularly great in ethnic minorities in the UK and in lower and middle income countries. It is also the commonest reason for people to be prescribed long-term medication by their GP.
In most people with hypertension, a healthy lifestyle alone is not enough to control blood pressure, and drug treatment is required. There are a wide variety of drugs available and although these are effective and safe, it is often necessary to try different types of drugs and sometimes a combination of two or more drugs. Delay in choosing the right kind of tablet or combination of tablets through “trial and error” is a major problem and, in a large proportion of people with hypertension, blood pressure is not adequately controlled.
The AIM HY consortium will examine whether treatment for high blood pressure can be improved by taking a person’s ethnic heritage into account. This is based on the fact that people from certain ethnic backgrounds, such as people from Africa, are at a much higher risk of developing hypertension. Genetics also plays a role in how patients respond to treatment for hypertension, with different responses between populations in Europe, Asia and Africa.
AIM HY will investigate whether genetic markers of ancestry (which predict the proportion of a person’s ancestors from Europe, Asia and Africa), combined with detailed information about the chemical makeup of their blood, can predict the best type of drug or combination of drugs for that person.
High blood pressure is currently treated using a range of generic, low cost drugs. These drugs are not always effective, particularly in ethnic minority groups. Yet, there is little drive by the pharmaceutical industry to produce new, more effective drugs. This project will provide the evidence for selecting the drug treatments in an ethnically diverse population like the UK. This may involve using non-standard combinations of existing drugs and/or new drugs. If a combination of drugs is required we can use a new technology to put these into a single tablet.
The ultimate aim is to deliver personalised treatment for high blood pressure, based on a single blood test that captures the genetic and other biological factors that determine how an individual will respond.
This should reduce the number of consultations; the time required to achieve optimal blood pressure control and contribute to better hypertension control in the UK.
To read more please clink the link: http://www.mrc.ac.uk/news-events/news/minister-announces-14m-investment-in-stratified-medicine/