Wed Mar 29 2023
The Journal of Clinical Investigation states: “Using clinical, genetic and experimental data, a collaborative study between researchers from USA, Sweden and Denmark shows that suPAR is a pathogenic factor for cardiovascular disease”.
The study used a combination of suPARnostic® products from ViroGates, genetic sequencing and experimental mouse and tissue models to show that suPAR levels were predictive of coronary artery calcification and cardiovascular events in 5,406 participants without previously known coronary disease.
The findings are consistent with previous studies showing suPARnostic®’s ability to predict cardiovascular disease. This new study, however, was conducted to determine if suPAR in itself is a factor that causes disease rather than just reflecting it.
To determine causality, the researchers measured suPAR and conducted genetic analysis on more than 25,000 individuals. The mutation associated with elevated suPAR was confirmed to provide higher suPAR levels when expressed in cells and mice and showed that an over-expression of suPAR in mice caused atherosclerotic plaques, a common cardiovascular condition that can lead to stroke and other cardiac diseases.
The causal role of suPAR was finally confirmed by data from a UK biobank, which confirmed that the particular mutation that gives higher suPAR was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, a rare mutation associated with lower suPAR levels was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
The overall conclusion is that the study shows suPAR is causal for developing cardiovascular disease. For ViroGates, suPAR can now be considered a target for preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases. Based on the findings, ViroGates will investigate opportunities and potential pharmaceutical partnerships within cardiology to improve the risk stratification of patients to provide new treatment solutions that lower suPAR and provide a better prognosis for individuals and patients.
Jesper Eugen-Olsen, CSO of ViroGates, says: “The fact that suPAR is not only predictive of cardiovascular disease but in itself is causing disease is an entirely new paradigm for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. suPAR can now be seen as a target for treatment and monitoring. The new findings indicate that individuals with elevated suPAR levels should undergo lifestyle changes or treatment for the inflammatory status to lower suPAR levels. Also, the study opens for developing new anti-suPAR therapies that may prevent disease in high-risk individuals.”
Jakob Knudsen, CEO of ViroGates, says: “We are excited to see this publication that is a landmark for suPAR research and our suPARnostic® products. We have known for years that suPARnostic® could predict cardiovascular disease. However, the fact that suPAR directly contributes to the disease’s development opens new commercial opportunities for us.
We will be able to target drug development for cardiovascular disease as clinical trials should incorporate suPARnostic® to select the right patient population. This is comparable to the SAVE-MORE study that focused on selecting COVID-19 patients for anakinra treatment based on their suPAR levels. In addition, we will have a strong value proposition to the commercial players that are targeting the market for general health screening since cardiovascular disease is the biggest target for screening for disease in the general population. This market has previously mainly been screened by, for example, cholesterol markers”.