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Approved research

Validation of polygenic risk scores, based upon pooled discovery studies, for predisposition to major prevalent diseases affecting both quality-of-life and lifespan and testing for causation.

Principal Investigator: Dr Richard Allman
Approved Research ID: 47401
Approval date: May 29th 2019

Lay summary

This project is investigating genetic risk scores for predisposition to either cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes or one of several common cancers. It is known that a combination of genetics, age, various clinical factors and lifestyle factors such as exercise and diet play a large part in a person's likelihood of developing those diseases. All of these factors vary from person to person. Using UK Biobank data, research from other groups has provided insight into the predictors for an individual's risk of developing a range of diseases. As cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancer are the most deadly and prevalent of diseases that early intervention can address and prevent, we are aiming to develop a number of risk prediction tests that can be performed simultaneously for these diseases in a simple and cost-effective manner. It is hoped that the public health impact will be significant by increasing lifespan, quality of life and decreasing the high cost on a healthcare system to treat the chronic diseases once already sick. This project is expected to take a year until the first tests are available to the public. The project also aims to investigate which factors could cause these major diseases by developing and testing new statistical methods. The methods applied by and further developed by this project could be used to investigate evidence for causation for multiple lifestyle factors and health outcomes. Relevant interventions could be applied to those factors found to be causal, and thus improve health on a population level.