A team of international genetic researchers has just won “The Big Beat Challenge” – a grant from the British Heart Foundation of £30 million ($36 million) payable over a 5 years period to study potentially curative gene therapies to treat genetic cardiomyopathies.
**Because so much HCM information was presented at the Summit, this will be the first of multiple blog entries. Stay tuned to HCMBeat for more highlights from the HCM Summit. You will find Part II of this series by clicking here.**
The 6th International HCM Summit was held October 27, 28 and 29th in Boston, Massachusetts. This symposium brings together HCM professionals from around the world who are there to learn about and discuss the latest developments in the treatment of HCM.
The symposium was organized by long time HCM expert Dr. Barry Maron and his son, Dr. Martin Maron. Both Marons are now affiliated with Tufts Medical Center’s Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center.
What follows are summaries from selected talks presented at the meeting. The presenter and their hospital affiliation are noted below, along with the topic of their presentation. When possible, you may access the presenters’ slides via hyperlink by clicking on the name. (Note that not all presenters made their slides available).
Researchers from around the globe have joined together to study an unlikely subject in order to understand the genetics of HCM according to a paper published today in the journal eLIFE.
Dr. Christine Seidman, a cardiologist from Harvard Medical School, Dr. James Ware a geneticist from the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences at Imperial College London, and Dr. Raúl Padrón, a structural biologist at the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research, have joined forces in order to study the tarantula.
The reason for their focus on the tarantula is because the proteins comprising the muscles inside the furry spider are actually very similar to proteins inside the human heart.
Dr. Seidman, who had taken note of Dr. Padrón’s work with spiders, sought him out at a meeting to discuss the similarity of heart proteins to those in tarantula muscles and asked him whether they might collaborate.
By studying the way that the spider proteins interact with one another, the scientists hope that they will gain further insight into whether and how certain genes cause different types of hereditary cardiomyopathy, including hypertrophic and dilated.
I hope that they find the answers soon, before any tarantulas escape from their lab!