Targeted treatment may prove effective in reducing heart disease risks associated with clonal hematopoiesis

Scientists work in a lab

Researchers at Columbia University Medical School found targeting immune pathways involved in clonal hematopoiesis, a blood condition, may help reduce a patient’s increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

Clonal hematopoiesis occurs in 10% of people over age 70. Certain mutations help hematopoietic cells, which support the formation of blood cells, multiply. The JAK2 mutation is one that is associated with clonal hematopoiesis occurring in adult patients at a younger age and increases the risk for heart attack and stroke, while correlating with higher incidents of coronary heart disease. Based on research in mice, the researchers found targeting immune pathways involved in clonal hematopoiesis that fuel plaque-filled caps, a precursor for adverse cardiac events, helped prevent coronary heart disease. More research is needed to see if targeting similar pathways in humans, based on a patient’s clonal hematopoiesis status, may reduce their cardiovascular disease risk.

The research published in Nature and was partially supported by grants from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute.