SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The Scripps Translational Science Institute will take part in groundbreaking genomic research into heart disease, funded by a $7.9 million grant by the National Institutes of Health that was announced Friday.
Scientists will use pluripotent stem cells -- non-embryonic stem cells -- to help them understand how a part of the genome called a "gene desert" is linked to the risk of developing heart disease. They hope to learn what takes place in the region, where no genes are present, to cause cells to become diseased.
"We're trying to figure out for the first time how this region works and which other parts of the genome or genes it's interacting with to make some people's cells become diseased," said Dr. Eric Topol, the study's principal investigator and director of STSI -- which is part of Scripps Health.
The researchers plan to use the pluripotent stem cells to recreate the artery lining of the heart for 2,000 participants, half of whom have developed coronary artery disease and the rest having lived to 80 without heart problems.
Once they figure out which genes are interacting with that gene desert region, they can use gene editing to remove damaged cells and, potentially, develop drugs to cure the disease, according to STSI scientists.
Topol, who carries a genetic risk of heart disease, plans to be the first person to have their heart artery lining cells genomically edited, which he described as being like "science fiction."
The experiments could help overcome a deficiency in genomic studies, in which researchers can find a problem area but don't understand why things are happening or uncover the specific offending gene, he said.
"Genome editing will allow us to edit each one and analyze which ones are the culprits," Topol said.
Sangamo BioSciences of Richmond, Calif., will share in the grant and assist with the research.
Following a series of low pressures, a stronger, colder system on Sunday will bring a chance of snow to San Diego mountains.
Ja'Quan Gardner ran for 104 yards and two fourth- quarter touchdowns and Donny Hageman kicked four field goals as the San Diego Fleet defeated the Atlanta Legends, 24-12, in their debut at SDCCU Stadium Sunday night.
The body of a man was found near a burned Ramona home Sunday after a resident of the home was unaccounted for after flames fully engulfed the structure on Saturday, authorities said. Deputies couldn't immediately say if the man who was found was the unaccounted-for resident.
San Diego police on Saturday released the names of the SWAT officers involved in a shooting and a standoff in Paradise Hills early on Valentine's Day.
The latest storm to hit San Diego is making for a beautiful scene in our local mountains with plenty of fresh snow that brought out lots of visitors this weekend.
Professional football is back in San Diego for the first time in more than two years. The San Diego Fleet's first ever home game against the Atlanta Legends got underway Sunday evening at SDCCU stadium.
The San Diego County Women's Hall of Fame will induct five local women for their life's achievements next month, the organization announced Sunday.
The U.S. Navy commissioned its newest combat ship on Saturday, the USS Tulsa, which eventually will be docked in San Diego.
More than 150 current and former service members and their families gathered on the USS Midway on Saturday morning.