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Novel way of gene control to treat aortic aneurysms

Centenary Institute & University of Sydney

Grant:
  • Cardiovascular Early-Mid Career Researcher Grant
Date Funded:
  • 18 November, 2021
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Dr. Justin Jong Leong Wong

Project Summary

Identifying new ways to treat aortic aneurysms through chemical modification of aneurysm-regulated genes.

What is the issue for NSW?

Aortic aneurysm is an understudied cardiovascular disease. An epidemiological study of aortic aneurysm in NSW reported more than 250 deaths every year as a result of vessel rupture. Rural NSW recorded more deaths than urban NSW, which can be attributed to a lack of access to healthcare and a delay in seeking medical attention. Still, these figures are likely an under-representation of the actual figure, as deaths from aortic aneurysms are often reported to be due to other diseases such as ischemic heart disease. Collaborators working with Dr Wong and his team have built one of the largest tissue banks housing tissue and clinical data of patients from NSW with aortic aneurysms. Any data as a result of this study will be directly related to patients and their families in NSW.

What does the research aim to do and how?

Our research aims to develop a better therapy for aortic aneurysm. We have found that errors in a newly discovered gene writing machinery is associated with elevated expression of genes that play a role in aortic aneurysm formation. Using advanced molecular and cellular experimental procedures, this project will attempt to genetically repair these mistakes. This will be done in a mouse model mimicking human aortic aneurysms. Access to a first-in-class drug that specifically targets this gene writing mechanism. It will also be determined if this drug will add to the currently underdeveloped armamentarium to treat aortic aneurysms.