There are a number of areas we still do not understand well enough.
- First of all, whilst virus infections are common and the vast majority of patients will recover spontaneously, what is unclear is why some patients should develop inflammation of the heart – often with devastating consequences.
- Secondly, to understand whether patients are predisposed in some way either because of risk factors or a genetic predisposition. This potentially could enable early identification of patients.
- Thirdly, developing drugs to improve outcome at an early stage remains crucial.
Plan to Improve Our Understanding
In order to improve outcomes for patients with myocarditis we propose to study key areas as part of work supported by the Foundation.
- First of all, to build a national registry to identify how common myocarditis is and to follow through patients to look at outcomes.
- Secondly, in an initial cohort of six-key hospitals within London to undertake cardiac MRI and collection of blood samples for biomarker analysis to determine which are most predictive of disease severity and clinical outcomes, at an early stage.
- Third, to provide pilot data to establish if there is a genetic predisposition or aetiology causing the condition. Specifically, we will look at known gene markers of heart muscle disease and in particular target genes that have been implicated as major causes of DCM to determine whether, through cascade screening, family members are more likely to have this gene abnormality and therefore a potential predisposition to this condition.
The team that will undertake this research will include experts in cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging of the heart providing state of the art imaging of the heart, leading genetics researchers and pathologists based at Royal Brompton Hospital and Imperial College. Their combined expertise and track record in this field offers every possibility of leading to impact through changes and improvements in managing this condition. Potential Benefits to Patients of this work
- Better understanding of myocarditis
- Identification of risk factors and predisposition
- Early mechanistic understanding
- New therapeutic targets
Above all, our goal is :
- early detection of those at risk
- early initiation of treatment
- improving clinical outcomes