Cytokinetic’s Drug Aficamten & Upcoming HCM Summit – Interview with Dr. Martin Maron

Editor’s note:  You have probably noticed a distinct uptick in clinical trials of potential treatments for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.  HCMBeat has been following this trend and has previously published a host of stories about such trials, including this story about the positive results from the REDWOOD-HCM Phase 2 clinical trial, as well as past stories discussing the biopharmaceutical company Cytokinetics, its  drug aficamten (previously known as CK-274), and the REDWOOD-HCM trial.

Some of these earlier stories are as follows: 

2 Companies Testing Drugs for HCM

HCM Clinical Trials – the Latest News

Positive Signs from REDWOOD-HCM

Cytokinetics Moves Forward with HCM Drug Trial

Recently, Cynthia Waldman of HCMBeat had the opportunity to speak over Zoom with Dr. Martin Maron, who recently served as the principal investigator of Cytokinetics’ REDWOOD trial.  The conversation focused both on Cytokinetic’s drug aficamten (previously known as CK-274), and the new class of drugs known as “myosin inhibitors.”  What follows is a transcript of their conversation (which has been edited for readability). 

Continue reading “Cytokinetic’s Drug Aficamten & Upcoming HCM Summit – Interview with Dr. Martin Maron”

Fifteen Year Anniversary of Myectomy!

Today it has been 15 years since my septal myectomy at Mayo Clinic!  

 
It’s hard to believe, and lots has happened since my open heart surgery, but I wanted to post today to let everyone know that it was totally worth it. The best decision I ever made.  I have been working full time since the surgery, have been working on this blog and have a busy life as a wife, mother and daughter. 
 
 
Of course the COVID pandemic has been challenging for all of us, but I am grateful for the blessing of the great medical care that has allowed me to continue living my best possible life, even if it is currently limited by the circumstances.
 
If you are on the fence wondering if this surgery is worth it, I am here to tell you it absolutely was.  You can see a collection of resources I gathered about myectomy.  Also, if you are wondering what it is like to visit a place like Mayo Clinic, I wrote a travelogue here.
 
And here are some words from my Mayo Clinic cardiologist, Dr. Steve Ommen, about the role of a specialty center in HCM care. Or you can read a recent interview with Dr. Ommen on Medscape here.
 
Meanwhile, wishing you all good health!

Mavacamten: A Plain Language Summary of EXPLORER – HCM

I was recently asked by the good people at MyoKardia, now a subsidiary of Bristol Myers Squibb, if I would author a plain language summary of an article to be published in the journal Future Cardiology.  This article summarizes the results of the EXPLORER-HCM trial, which showed that mavacamten, a new type of drug known as a “myosin modulator,” was successful in reducing HCM symptoms in subset of patients who took the drug during the clinical trial. 

I was so fortunate to have Dr. Anjali Owens of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Inherited Cardiac Disease join me as co-author on the article.  I also want to thank the teams at Bristol Myers Squibb and Cello Health Communications/SciFluent who supported us on this project.  And, I so grateful to the former MyoKardia team and the other members of the EXPLORER-HCM Steering Committee who gave me the opportunity to witness a groundbreaking clinical trial from the front row.

This is the article.  When you access the page, click to view the very informative short video, located in the upper right corner of the page, which explains how the drug works in very brief and concise terms.

Check it out!

Cynthia Burstein Waldman, Founder and Editor, HCMBeat

 

When the Doctor Becomes a Patient

Just about everyone involved with HCM has heard the name Dr. Barry J. Maron.  Dr. Maron has devoted his entire career to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and has been perhaps the physician most associated with HCM, having gotten his start in the 1970s at the National Heart Institute.

In a brand new autobiographical essay by Dr. Maron, he retells his recent experience being diagnosed and treated for heart failure. 

When Dr. Maron experienced edema, difficulty lying flat, and trouble breathing, he rationalized it all away until he experienced a terrifying and life threatening episode, and even then, he decided to call an Uber to take him to the hospital instead of an ambulance! 

Once hospitalized, doctors were able to get to the root of his problem and treat Dr. Maron appropriately. Having received the proper care, he is now feeling much better.

Dr. Maron’s article concludes with three main takeaways:

  • Physicians should not diagnose themselves;
  • Heart failure is treatable; and
  • Listen to your cardiologist and live a healthy lifestyle!

AHA Seeking Patient Input for New HCM Initiative

In November at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions held in Philadelphia, AHA announced that it would be starting a three-year initiative focused on hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, also known as HCM.  The initiative is sponsored by MyoKardia, a San Francisco based company that is currently in clinical trials for mavacamten, the first drug specifically intended to treat HCM.

Last week, Cynthia Waldman of HCMBeat had the opportunity to speak with Amy Schmitz, AHA’s National Corporate Relations Director and Alexson Calahan, a Communication Manager for AHA.

What follows is a summary of their conversation about the forthcoming HCM initiative that has been edited for clarity.

Continue reading “AHA Seeking Patient Input for New HCM Initiative”

MRIs for ICD and Pacemaker Patients

Here is an informative new video from our friend Doug Rachac that nicely explains the safety of MRIs for patients with implantable defibrillators and pacemakers.

I wrote a blog piece about this same issue a few years back. Here it is:

Yes We Scan! ICDs and MRIs

And a few other relevant blog entries here on HCMBeat:

Study Shows MRIs Safe for Pacemaker & ICD Patients

Chapter 3: MRI Safety for ICD & Pacemaker Patients

Safety of MRIs With Abandoned Leads

Last year, Doug wrote this blog entry for HCMBeat specifically about magnets and airports. Read that here:

Blogger Doug Rachac – Magnets and Airports: Should ICD Patients Be Afraid?

And, you can find more about ICDs from Doug on his YouTube Channel.

Dr. Harry Lever Speaks Out About Problems With Generic Drugs

This Medscape article highlights the extraordinary efforts of Dr. Harry Lever, Director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center, in educating patients and physicians alike about quality issues with generic drugs.  Dr. Lever has been instrumental in publicizing the fact that generic drugs are NOT always the same as their name brand counterparts, and that foreign generics are not put through the same level of scrutiny as drugs in the U.S.

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Dr. Srihari Naidu Talks About HCM Medical Education

Recently, Cynthia Waldman of HCMBeat corresponded with Dr. Srihari S. Naidu of Westchester Medical Center the second edition of an HCM textbook he recently edited, as well as about medical education surrounding hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in general. What follows is a transcript of their correspondence (which has been slightly edited for readability).

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ICD Patients – Combat ICD Anxiety

This informative blog article written by a social worker for the University of Michigan’s Health Blog has some great tips on how to deal with anxiety when living with an ICD.

I recommend it.

Visiting Mayo Clinic

I had open heart surgery (a septal myectomy) to treat my hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in 2006.  I went back to Mayo twice for the two years following the surgery, but after that I hadn’t felt the need to return since I was regularly following up with my local cardiologist.  In April of 2018, it had been almost ten years since I had been back to Rochester.  So, I decided it was time to take a trip and make sure that all was in order.

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