Three Myocarditis Researchers presented at our recent Family Meeting in October. Here is a little information on them and their talks.
One of our Fellowship Grant Recipients, Dr. Tahir Kafil, who was awarded a Myocarditis Foundation Fellowship Grant in 2021 to study “COVID-19 Vaccine Induced Inflammatory Heart Disease” in Canada, spoke about his research and findings. His talk was entitled, “Lessons from the Myocarditis Clinic” about his time in Ottawa, where he had helped establish the Post-Vaccine Myopericarditis Clinic. His research work went on to help develop a pan-Canadian study called MYCOVACC which won 1.6 Million from the Public Health Agency of Canada to study the clinical and functional outcomes of adults and children who experienced myocarditis and/or pericarditis after receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccination or after COVID-19 infection. He is on the Steering Committee and shared that his MYCOVACC team was recently awarded a 2 Million Boost from the Public Health Agency of Canada, to further study those affected, including a cardiac imaging expansion project.
Shahnawaz Amdani, a Pediatric Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, was interested in learning more about the Myocarditis Foundation and offered to speak. He spoke on “Myocarditis after COVID Vaccine in patients with a prior history of Myocarditis.” What they found in the study at the Cleveland Clinic, the risk for recurrence after getting the vaccine is very low. In contrast, the risk of developing myocarditis from COVID-19 is significantly higher.
Katelyn Bruno, PhD, Myocarditis Researcher at the University of Florida, College of Medicine, and Secretary to our Medical Advisory Board, joined us to share her recent research on the three areas that she is looking at with relation to Myocarditis.
Myocarditis remains the leading cause of Sudden Cardiac Death in patients under the age of 50 years old. 33% of them progress to Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) and accounts for 45% of all heart transplants in the United States (U.S.).
One of the main causes of myocarditis in the U.S., is the Coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) which causes common intestinal flu-like symptoms. She explained that in the warmer months it is usually seen as “Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease” and in the cooler months it presents as the “Flu”.
Before Dr. Bruno’s study on Pediatric Viral Myocarditis, there were no mouse models, which basically are what are studied before human models of the disease. Dr. Bruno utilized the knowledge that she had gained from their adult mouse model of coxsackie virus B3 (CVB3) myocarditis to create a pediatric CVB3 myocarditis model the better understand the development of myocarditis in children.
Dr. Bruno shared that the successful development of a pediatric viral myocarditis model will significantly impact the myocarditis field by allowing the ability to assess differences between pediatric and adult populations and develop targeted diagnostics and treatments. Additionally, it could help increase awareness and understanding of the clinical manifestations of myocarditis in children.
Additionally, she spoke about a new diagnostic test that is being studied to detect myocarditis and dilated cardiomyopathy. The test is called a “Magnetocardiogram”, is very efficient, nearly instant – only takes 90 seconds of scan time and is ideal for vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, children and the elderly as well as those with severe renal disease, heart failure and cancer. The results are standardized and easy to interpret. This is currently being studied in a number of cardiovascular diseases.
And finally, Dr. Bruno shared “new hope” for healing. There is a product that is secreted from stem cells called secretome, that they are looking at for myocarditis treatment, and potentially protecting cells from developing Myocarditis and Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM).