This month a medical meeting in Switzerland entitled Cardioimmunology Zurich focused entirely on inflammation and the heart. The Myocarditis Foundation was well represented. The meeting was held at a medieval monastery that was beautifully renovated into a state-of-the-art conference center in the countryside outside Zurich. Over 180 physicians, scientists and students attended in person and virtually.
The opening session on Wednesday September 14th included presentations by Dr. Leslie Cooper, from the Myocarditis Foundation, on the epidemiology and clinical features of myocarditis. Dr. Daniella Cihakova, who received one of the 1st fellowship grants from the Foundation and has served as a mentor to more recent Myocarditis Foundation fellows, presented a talk on “Immune Cell Cross Talk in Myocarditis”. Both talks sparked a lively debate.
On the morning of Thursday September 15th, the symposium focused on the innate and adaptive immune mechanisms in cardiac inflammation and the diagnosis of myocardial and pericardial inflammatory disease. World renowned experts presented the latest advances in blood-based biomarkers, noninvasive imaging, and heart biopsy to define myocarditis in patients. In the afternoon, the focus turned to the specific entity of myocarditis related to cancer treatment with checkpoint inhibitors. That evening investigators socialized over presentations of more than 40 scientific abstract posters.
On Friday September 16th, Dr. Cooper chaired a session on treatment of cardiac inflammation including novel targets in viral and autoimmune myocarditis. Dr. DeLisa Fairweather, a member of the Myocarditis Foundation scientific advisory board, discussed COVID-19 associated myocarditis. The overall message from the meeting was that there is a growing global awareness and interest in the treatment of myocarditis. Patients and their families who have been affected by the disease should feel a sense of hope and optimism because clinical trials in the next few years should define new and better treatments for patients with many forms of myocarditis.