Personalized Genomic Medicine: A Future Prerequisite for the Prevention of Coronary Artery Disease


Robert Roberts, MD, FRCPC, President and CEO, University of Ottawa Heart Institute, 40 Ruskin Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1Y 4W7; e-mail:


Within the next 10–15 years, medicine will be personalized in large part on the basis of the individual's genomic variants. Coronary artery disease remains the number one cause of morbidity and mortality in the Western world and is predicted to become the number one cause worldwide by 2010. It has been stated that treating the risk factors of coronary artery disease has made it a preventable disease that should be eliminated in the 21st century. It is postulated that about 50% of susceptibility to coronary artery disease is genetic, involving known and occult risk factors. Thus, comprehensive prevention will require identification of genetic susceptibility. The recent technology of a chip with 500,000 DNA markers makes genome-wide scanning to identify the genes contributing to coronary artery disease possible. Multislice CT will provide the high-throughput coronary arteriograms required for this research and for prevention in asymptomatic individuals with a family history of heart disease.