MEB seminar: Professor Paul W. Franks
Title: Genetic stratification of risk factor susceptibility and treatment response in cardiometabolic disease
Speaker: Prof. Paul W. Franks from the Genetic & Molecular Epidemiology Unit, Lund University Diabetes Centre, Malmö, Sweden
CVD and type 2 diabetes convey enormous burdens on society and individuals, despite aggressive and costly strategies for prevention and treatment. Both diseases are caused by the combination of genetic and environmental risk factors, and although pharmacotherapy predominates in the treatment and in some cases prevention of these diseases, lifestyle interventions can also be highly effective, sometimes much more so than the best drugs. Yet, regardless of therapeutic modality there is considerable variability in effectiveness, some of which may be conditional on a person’s biological constitution. Where this is true, opportunities exist to optimised prevention and treatment, by using biomarkers to guide lifestyle choices and therapies. However, to do so first requires convincing evidence that specific biomarkers modify disease risk or treatment response. Ideally, those biomarkers should be easily, safely and inexpensively measured; and they should predict treatment response and non-response with high certainty. Germline DNA variants are appealing in this regard because they are easily, accurately and inexpensively measured, but also because unlike many other biomarkers they are salient and thus robust to reverse causation.
This lecture will overview i) core concepts; ii) evidence from epidemiological studies and clinical trials; and iii) future directions concerning the use of genotypes and other biomarkers to optimize the prediction and prevention of cardiometabolic disease.