Scientists Find Genes of Arterial Sickness

A group of leading Shanghai scientists may have found a better way of treating hypertension, which affects one in 10 humans.

Scientists, numbering 100, from major city institutions spent three years identifying chromosome regions containing genes responsible for the arterial disease, whose primary symptom is chronic high blood pressure.

The research was funded by a government grant. The thesis developed by 11 of the local researchers was published in the January edition of the Journal of Hypertension.

If their findings prove true, it will be a major breakthrough in the research of gene-related diseases.

"The significance lies in two fields: It will help discover a more-effective genetic treatment for the disease and will be a critical step in the research of complex diseases which are controlled by more than one gene," said Huang Wei, one of the lead researchers.

"It will also put China on the cutting edge of genetic research," Huang said.

Huang declined to reveal the amount of grant, saying only that it was a huge project involving many institutes.

The scientists are from the Chinese National Human Genome Center in Shanghai, the Shanghai Institute of Hypertension, Fudan University's Genetics Institute, and other local universities and hospitals.

"There is more than one gene involved in hypertension - known as a multigenic disease. It is also related to the environment," said Huang.

"Our next step is to figure out what kind of role each gene plays with the ultimate purpose of producing a gene medicine to treat the disease," he said.

The recent advancements in human genome sequencing are helping the local scientists' research.

"Hypertension is one of the toughest diseases to cure, although more than five medicines are available to treat it," said He Xin, a researcher with the city's Institute of Hypertension.

( 02/21/2001)

In This Series

China on Par with Developed Countries in Genome Research

Mutations Give Doctors a Hand

Gene Chip for Respiratory Problems Diagnosis Developed

Genome Study in China Extends to Sea

China Sees 3 Million More Hypertension Patients A Year

China Introduces Gene Diagnosis



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