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Approved Research

Multimorbid Disease Patterns and Shared Genetics of Chronic Diseases and Conditions

Principal Investigator: Dr Tanya Major
Approved Research ID: 94262
Approval date: November 7th 2022

Lay summary

Chronic health conditions, including physical conditions, mental conditions, or prolonged infectious diseases (e.g. HIV - human immunodeficiency virus), represent a substantial burden on people's quality of life and require long-term management to reduce this burden as much as possible. This disease burden is even greater when an individual has two or more long-term health conditions (defined as multimorbidity).

An essential part of improving disease prevention and management is increased understanding of the biological mechanisms that lead to these diseases. By investigating the underlying biology of a disease treatment strategies can be improved, new drugs can be designed or established drugs can be repurposed (i.e. used to treat a different disease to their current use), and public health initiatives can be adapted to reflect this new knowledge. Limited research has been conducted on multimorbid diseases to assess how prevention and management can be improved in this more complex context.

The study proposed here aims to investigate the underlying biology of multimorbid conditions by identifying disease patterns amongst people living in the United Kingdom and investigating the shared genetic contributors for these multimorbid diseases. This study will also identify diseases that are never/rarely found together and assess whether they have a common genetic cause (i.e. if they are divergent outcomes of the same biological/genetic pathway).

This project will be conducted over the next three years. Through appropriate outreach and engagement this project has the potential to destigmatise a wide variety of chronic conditions, which is often essential for encouraging people to seek medical help. The results will also be used to inform future research, and may contribute towards better decision-making around treatment choice for multimorbid diseases, through identification of shared causal pathways targeted by medications.