The Myocarditis Foundation is pleased to announce that it will be funding a research fellowship grant for the 2014/15 grant cycle.  The Myocarditis Foundation will be funding a research grant awarded to Dr. Yuji Nagatomo of the Cleveland Clinic in the amount of $35,000.  Dr. Nagatomo is under the mentorship of Dr. Wilson Tang of the Cleveland Clinic.

 The Myocarditis Foundation, an international non-profit organization founded in 2005, is dedicated to increasing awareness and hastening progress in understanding this rare disease.  Myocarditis is a disease that is marked by inflammation and scarring of the heart muscle, which can progress rapidly to heart failure and death or heart transplantation.

The Myocarditis Foundation announced in its third quarter 2013 that it was accepting grant applications until December 2013.  Their international Medical Advisory Board, made up of leading myocarditis researchers from around the world, voted to award a fellowship grant to Dr. Nagatomo after selecting his application from a distinguished field of candidates.

Dr. Nagatomo’s research project is titled “Autoimmunity in Suspected Myocarditis and Recent-Onset Cardiomyopathy: The significance of IgG3 autoantibody against β1 adrenergic receptors”  Below is a layman’s summary of his research.

 “Over the years, there has been extensive research work surrounding the presence of antibodies that attack the components of the adrenaline system, which may directly or indirectly affect the function of the heart.  Termed “autoantibodies”, they may stimulate the system and activate the flight and fight response that drives the heart to get weaker over time.  Preliminary findings have suggested that removal of one specific type of autoantibodies, IgG3, appears to be most effective in facilitating recovery of heart function.  The objective of this study is to determine how common this subtype of autoantibody that acts against the adrenergic system is found in patients with new-onset heart failure or suspected myocarditis, and to see how these autoantibodies (and its subtype) directly influence the adrenaline system by looking at how they stimulate the blood cells.  We believe that this research will provide novel insight into the pathology of myocarditis and lead to the development of new treatment modality for this potential therapeutic target.”

                                                      – Summary by Dr. Nagatomo

Dr. Yuji Nagatomo of the Cleveland Clinic
Dr. Yuji Nagatomo of the Cleveland Clinic

The Myocarditis Foundation is honored to work with Dr. Nagatomo and the Cleveland Clinic, furthering the expansion of myocarditis research.  It is the Foundation’s goal to build a greater understanding of the disease and find better ways to diagnose, treat, and ultimately prevent myocarditis from taking more lives.

 The Myocarditis Foundation has also approved to co-sponsor a research grant with the American Heart Association (AHA), but the 2013 end-of-year AHA grant applications did not match the guidelines put forth by the Myocarditis Foundation.  New grant applications will be submitted in the spring of 2014, and hopefully one will meet the Myocarditis Foundation’s Medical Advisory Board research guidelines.  It is the Myocarditis Foundation’s goal to award two grants for the 2014/15 grant cycle.

The Myocarditis Foundation would like to thank all the families, businesses, and organizations that have supported the Foundation in 2013.   It is with their generosity and support that these research grants are able to be awarded each year.

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