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Cardiovascular Genetics Centre takes step toward personalized medicine


Montreal, ON – The Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) has officially opened its new Cardiovascular Genetics Centre.

“We’ve just made an important step towards personalized medicine. This is the only specialized centre in Quebec with comprehensive expertise in patient monitoring thanks to a combination of clinical investigation and molecular testing for genetic cardiovascular diseases,” said Dr. Mario Talajic, the centre’s director.

The centre was created to provide an integrated multidisciplinary clinical assessment for patients and families affected by a genetic cardiovascular disease. “The centre can provide all the cardiovascular assessments needed for the diagnosis, risk stratification, and development of treatment options,” said Dr. Denis Roy, MHI’s chief executive officer.

“The laboratory at the Genetics Centre will carry out molecular genetic testing, which allows us to identify the variants involved in the pathogenesis of several genetic cardiovascular diseases. It is the largest centre dedicated to cardiovascular disease in Canada,” said Dr. Julie Amyot, clinical biochemist and director of the molecular diagnostics lab.

On the clinical side,, patients will be able to obtain all the information necessary regarding individual and family risks associated with the disease. Given that 50% of individuals who are directly related to a patient affected by a genetic heart condition carry the same pathogenic variant, it is essential to provide education on family planning and on the potential for developing the same clinical symptoms.

The genetics clinic includes a multidisciplinary team responsible for assessing the range of genetic cardiovascular pathologies in patients with hereditary arrhythmias, aortopathies, and cardiomyopathies. The laboratory is equipped with state-of-the art technology such as, among other things, a new generation MiSeq sequencer and a Sanger sequencer.

All of this was made possible by Hydro-Québec, which made a donation to the Genetics Centre specifically for the molecular diagnostics lab. The centre is also financially supported by the Philippa and Marvin Carsley Cardiology Chair at Université de Montréal. The chair holder is Dr. Peter Guerra, chief of the Department of Medicine and specialist in cardiac arrhythmia.