Validation of these sequence variants was performed in a further 68,368 individuals, researchers said. This analysis led to the identification of 11 new genetic signals, they said.
"Discovering these new genetic variants provide vital insight into how the body regulates blood pressure," said Patricia Munroe, Professor of Molecular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London.

"With further research, we are hopeful it could lead to the development of new treatments for treating blood pressure and heart disease - a leading cause of death worldwide," Munroe said.

Ten of the 11 gene signals are in or very near genes encoding proteins that appear to be likely targets for drugs already in existence or in development, researchers said.
"The fact that most of these new gene signals are 'druggable' targets offers the possibility of expedited pharmaceutical development of therapeutics for high blood pressure, a serious risk factor for cardiovascular diseases," said geneticist Brendan J Keating, of The Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, co-senior author of the study.
"Some of the protein targets already are targets of existing drugs for other diseases, while others are the focus of drugs currently in early-phase clinical trials or under preclinical development," Keating said.


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