Point Pleasant, New Jersey (02/01/2011)—Three researchers with promising projects have been awarded monetary research grants to investigate myocarditis by the Myocarditis Foundation. Myocarditis is a poorly understood disease marked by inflammation and scarring of the heart muscle which can progress rapidly to heart failure and death, or heart transplantation. The Myocarditis Foundation, a non-profit organization founded in 2005 and located in Point Pleasant, NJ, strives to promote international awareness and increased understanding of myocarditis in order to improve the medical diagnosis, management and outcome for this life-threatening disease.
The Foundation announced in third quarter 2010 that it was accepting Grant Applications until December 2010. Its Medical Advisory Board, made up of leading myocarditis researchers from around the world, selected the grant recipients from a distinguished field of candidates. Today the Foundation is proud to announce awards to three Research Fellowship Grant recipients: Dr. Alan Valaperti, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow in Cardiology from the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; Dr. Kathleen Simpson, M.D., Clinical Fellow in Pediatric Cardiology from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri; and Dr. Khurram Shahzad, M.D., Postdoctoral Fellow in Cardiology from Columbia University Medical Center, New York City, New York.
Dr. Leslie T. Cooper, Jr., of the Mayo Clinic and Myocarditis Foundation President commented, “We are pleased to support the career development of such outstanding physician-scientists and look forward to the contribution they will undoubtedly make in the field of myocarditis research.” Dr. Valaperti’s research is directed toward the science which could lead to potential novel therapy to treat viral myocarditis. Dr. Simpson’s research is primarily directed on gaining a better understanding of how autoimmunity affects pediatric myocarditis. Dr. Shahzad’s research is focused on the identification of a genomic marker to diagnose myocarditis. Candace C. Moose, Foundation Executive Director, said, “It is our hope that the research we fund will result in better diagnostic techniques and novel treatment modalities that will save more lives.”
Myocarditis is the third most common cause of sudden, unexpected death in otherwise young healthy individuals, including athletes, pregnant women, babies, children, teenagers, young adults and adults (under age 40), and is a major cause of dilated cardiomyopathy that is responsible for 45 percent of heart transplantations in the United States. There are many causes of myocarditis including viral infections, autoimmune disorders, environmental toxins, and adverse reactions to immunizations and medications. Although several thousand patients per year are diagnosed in the United States, the exact incidence of myocarditis is not known. Because symptoms are highly varied and there is a lack of easily performed, readily available diagnostic tests, it is believed that many cases of myocarditis are not recognized and the actual incidence of disease is much higher. To help guarantee that new and innovative research avenues are thoroughly funded and explored, the Myocarditis Foundation raises money for research and physician and patient education. Additional information on myocarditis and Foundation resources and programs is available at the Myocarditis Foundation website: myocarditis.viewsamplesite.com.
If you would like more information or to schedule an interview or photo opportunity, please contact Candace Moose at [email protected] or 1-732-295-3700.