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Hadassah head doctor leads international team to identify gene mutation for MVP


Dr. Ronen Durst, a senior cardiologist at Hadassah Ein kerem and researcher at the Hebrew University, is leading the international investigation that has identified the first gene in which mutations cause the common form of mitral valve prolapse, a heart valve disorder affecting 2.4% of the population.

Dr. Ronen Durst said, "The prevalence of mitral valve prolapse in the population is 2.4%. This disease can cause many complications including; heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, stroke, valve infection and even sudden death. Despite this, our understanding of the mechanism of the disease is minimal. Our discovery is a breakthrough in the understanding of the mechanism of the disease and this is extremely important. We hope that the understanding of the mechanism will allow future developments for a treatment of the disease. In addition, the cooperation of international research teams across the globe is allowing us and our young researchers to be exposed to first-class research – this in itself is amazing.”

This article, published in the prestigious "Nature" journal represents a significant step in understanding the mechanism of this severe valve disease afflicting too many victims in the Western world. Dr. Durst said that the publication in the journal "constitutes an important step in the study of heart valve disease on one hand, but also strengthens the close research relationship between Hadassah/Hebrew University with other leading institutions like Harvard University and it’s affiliate medical institutes".

Co-author on the Nature paper, Dr. Robert Levine, MD of the MGH (Massachusetts General Hospital) Corrigan Minehan Heart Centre said, "This finding can teach us how to prevent this inborn disease from manifesting as an illness in people who inherit mutated forms of this gene. Understanding how defects in this gene cause errors in early valve formation can point to ways we can prevent the progression of this condition to keep the valve and the heart healthy and help the patient avoid complications.”

For further reading - full article