Thanks to ongoing funding of research projects by the Tanoto Foundation, founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist Sukanto Tanoto, evidence has been uncovered that gene mutations in titin (a protein) can cause healthy people to suffer heart conditions. The research paper has been published for the benefit of the population and medical professionals in the Nature Genetics Medical Journal on 21 November 2016.
Initially, researchers and medical professionals believed that mutations in this protein only had a negative impact on those who already had dilated cardiomyopathy, but recent research has proven otherwise. Studies were carried out by researchers not only from Singapore, but also from Germany and the UK.
What does this mean for the global population?
Researchers working on the project know that this means serious things for the global population, as titin is the largest protein in the human body that generally spurs on dilated cardiomyopathy, which weakens and enlarges the heart.
The research helped scientists calculate that approximately one percent of the global population carries this particular genetic mutation without being affected negatively. However, those who carry this gene are considered to have hearts that are “primed to fail”, and if they suffer more than one genetic or environmental impact, it can result in heart failure. This places around 35 million people at risk.
Who is the key role player in the research study from the Tanoto Foundation?
Professor Stuart Cook is the Tanoto Foundation representative on this research project and a key role player. He is a professor of cardiovascular medicine at SingHealth Duke-NUS Medical School.
Professor Cook is the co-senior author of the research paper. In a recent statement to the press, he said that the next step for the research team is to find out what effect certain factors and triggers can have on individuals with the titin gene mutation. Alcohol and viral infections will be a focus of this part of the study.
Who was involved in funding the study?
While the Tanoto Foundation was actively involved in the funding and research process of this study, they worked in collaboration with other funders. These included the National Medical Research Council Singapore, SingHealth Duke-NUS Institute of Precision Medicine, Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Centre UK, NIHR Biomedical Research Unit in Cardiovascular Disease at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College London and British Heart Foundation UK.
Without the caring and generous donations of the Tanoto Foundation and others, this project would not have been possible. This is just one of many ways in which the Tanoto Foundation, under the leadership of Mr Sukanto Tanoto, is making a difference not only to the local community, but to the global community. You can follow Mr Sukanto Tanoto via social media on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, About.me or LinkedIn.