The science on halting the gene that causes heart disease

Lipoprotein(a) is a particle made by the liver, which consists of cholesterol, fats and proteins. About 1 in 5 people have high levels of Lp(a), because of a specific gene variation in their DNA.
3:35 | 02/25/21

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Transcript for The science on halting the gene that causes heart disease
Science has advanced so much in recent years heart disease patients have more treatment options now. Than ever before from cutting edge electronic implants and surgical treatments to transplants and new medication. But imagine if you could halt heart disease altogether by spotting and turning off the gene that causes it. It may sound futuristic but it's actually a lot closer than you think. We've never been able to turn offer specific gene before her there's been no way any history to do that. So in 2017. I was married I had. Three kids I was vice president for fortune 100 company. In great health at least I thought. The national lipid association estimates Donald cosic is one of 64 million Americans born with a silent and potentially deadly genetic disorder. So lipoprotein A is a pure genetic risk view got a single cholesterol particle. Which is causing plaques to buildup in arteries. But also cause name the potential for clot formation. While the nationalist that association estimates. 20% of Americans are formally elevated LP little way. Most don't know until it's too early cholesterol normal weight was normal blood pressure normal never was a smoker. All of a sudden. I just felt some pressure and shortness of for a Donald's doctor ran a battery of tests and found five arteries blocked. One of them 100%. They decided at that point that and in need a bypass surgery. I was very frightened. There was a lot of shock lot of guilt on my part here I am a nurse. Why I pick up on something word about my family worried about if something did happen to me how would they go on. The surgery was a success. But Donald still sought answers to his mysterious condition. Donald is a very tip the Kong. Lipoprotein a patient he has a family history. But he's incredibly young he's accurate picture of perfect how normal people as Michael put teenage back thirty and his came back ordered five times higher than thirty. Casting for electric protein made it's a blood test when you have a strong family history of heart disease and stroke those people definitely. Ought to have a light per protein. Hoping to prevent another episode Donald volunteered for an innovative new study on gene silencing. We turn off that. Mean with a little snippet that DNA that we you have that actually turns off the product of that scene. And that product. His what's causing patients to develop premature heart disease the drug has to be given by injection but it's pretty convenient. Patients do it themselves once a month. Twelve times a year. And we expect an 80% reduction. In blood levels I think the gene silencing tree. And as well as the other things of going to give me hope. That that I don't have to go through something like that again and I live a long healthy life for my children are my grandchildren. The trial's going to go on for four years. But the handwriting is on the wall. This is where we're gonna go now to take on some diseases we could treat people. It is truly amazing to consider what this gene silencing therapy could mean down the road for heart patients. Thank you so much to the Cleveland clinic for that.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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