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World-first as NHS pilots new genetic testing study

January 20, 2022

A new study aimed at identifying important risk factors for many common diseases has been launched this week.

The NHS-backed HEART study (Healthcare Evaluation of Absolute Risk Testing) will focus primarily on using genetic information to augment cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment.

However, it is hoped the initiative will pave the way for the use of a single blood sample to calculate the risk of numerous common diseases simultaneously, including diabetes, osteoporosis, and common cancers like breast and bowel cancer.

The testing could also prove invaluable in accelerating treatment pathways and optimisation of vital NHS resources by identifying patients who will benefit from preventative measures, such as lifestyle changes and extra screening.

The HEART study is currently ongoing in ten GP practices in the North of England and full results are expected to be published later this year.

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