Cardiovascular disease research is undergoing a revolution, in large measure due to new insights into the genetic basis of disease. The Broad’s Cardiovascular Disease Initiative (CVDi) captures the breadth of cardiovascular research at the Broad. Members of the CVDi work closely with Broad’s Program in Medical and Population Genetics and Genomics Platform.
The CVDi, led by Sekar Kathiresan, aims to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease and sudden cardiac death through four goals:
- Fully define and make widely known the genetic causes of CVD and its metabolic risk factors.
- Deeply investigate the biology underlying the most promising novel mechanisms.
- Develop assays to identify therapeutics for the most promising targets.
- Target interventions to people at high risk of premature CVD using genetic or non-genetic biomarkers.
The successful execution of this vision over the next decade will lead to a deep biological understanding of new mechanisms underlying CVD and its risk factors, and advance new medicines that reduce the burden of these diseases.
Over the past decade, this work has involved Broad-led studies to identify genetic variants associated with cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, atrial fibrillation, and stroke. Other work by the initiative aims to uncover biological insight from the genomic findings by connecting the variants to causal genes and mechanisms. These studies rely on cellular, animal, and human model systems.
Members of the CVDi also aim to translate genomic and biological findings into clinical interventions, such as new treatments. This work is done in close collaboration with the Broad Center for the Development of Therapeutics (CDoT) and partners in academia and industry. To identify high-risk individuals appropriate for preventive interventions, the initiative also focuses on efforts to interpret the genome.