London: Scientists have isolated a gene that spurs a fatal abdominal condition afflicting tens of thousands of people worldwide.
An international team led by Matt Bown, vascular surgeon from the University of Leicester, identified the gene, LRP1, tied to the development of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs).
An AAA is a swelling of the main blood vessel in the back of the abdomen that can burst, causing dangerous internal bleeding. The only treatment to prevent this happening is surgery, reports The American Journal of Human Genetics.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment to prevent small AAAs from growing. Despite their detection by screening and surgery, many thousands still die from burst AAA each year, according to a Leicester statement.
The research, funded by The Wellcome Trust, also involved institutions from New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Iceland, The Netherlands, Sweden, the US and the UK.
Bown, senior lecturer in cardiovascular surgery, said: "The study involved over 2,000 people from Leicestershire as well as many more from around the globe.
"Since AAAs often run in families, the research team compared the genes of people with AAAs to those without and discovered that one gene, LRP1, was associated with AAA.
"This is a tremendously exciting discovery that is the culmination of over a decade of research work across six countries and is a testament to the research excellence of the people involved," added Bown.