Could Genes be the Cause of Your Family’s Heart Disease?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 26, 2016

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Dr. Christine Seidman, Director of the Cardiovascular Genetics Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and her team have developed novel approaches to evaluate and care for patients with inherited heart disease and their families.

In some families, heart disease occurs more frequently than in the general public. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have spent years studying heart disease in these families to pinpoint genetic changes that lead to the development of heart disease.

“Our team has pioneered diagnostic testing for patients at risk for genetic forms of heart disease,” said Dr. Christine Seidman, Director of the Cardiovascular Genetics Center at BWH. “We can now determine if an individual carries a dangerous genetic variant and intervene to treat or help prevent damage to the heart.”

Examples of inherited heart diseases include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), arrhythmias, Marfan syndrome, and inherited aortic aneurysms. Caring for someone with an inherited heart disease includes the patient’s family, particularly the patient’s siblings and children. Genetic testing can be performed to determine risk in these family members. Preventative measures or therapies Read More »

Partners HealthCare Biobank – Advancing Personalized Medicine

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital November 19, 2015

20140404; Friday, April 4, 2014, Boston, MA, USA; Partners HealthCare Biobank leaders Susan A. Slaugenhaupt, MD, and Elizabeth Wood Karlson, MD, talk about the promise of the Biobank project in Dr. Slaugenhaupt's lab space inside the Massachusetts General Hospital Simches Research Building Friday morning April 4, 2014. background: "The Partners HealthCare Biobank is a large research program designed to help researchers understand how people’s health is affected by their genes, lifestyle, and environment. The Biobank collects and maintain samples and information from individuals who receive their care at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital. These materials will be used in research to better understand many different diseases." ~ adapted from Partners website Partners HealthCare annual report project with Hill Holliday ( 2014 © lightchaser photography )

Partners HealthCare Biobank leaders Dr. Elizabeth W. Karlson (left) and Dr. Susan A. Slaugenhaupt.

The Partners HealthCare Biobank is a program designed to help researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and other Partners HealthCare institutions understand how people’s health is affected by their genes, lifestyle, and environment.

By understanding a patient’s genetic makeup, physicians can screen more aggressively for diseases that their patients are predisposed to and develop plans to reduce the chances of developing specific diseases. Ultimately, the goal is to define and classify subgroups of patients based on how they respond to certain treatments, which will help physicians choose the best medications for individuals. This is known as personalized medicine.

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