Scientists Get $10 Million Grant to Develop HCM Treatments

A group of scientists led by Stanford University’s Dr. James Spudich, working together with researchers from the University of California-Santa Barbara, the University of Washington and the Institut Curie in Paris, has recently been awarded a $10 million grant by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to develop novel treatments for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). 

The researchers hope that the added resources from this grant will help them find ways to correct pathological heart protein changes they believe to be at the root of HCM. The team then plans to partner with pharmaceutical companies to develop more personalized approaches to HCM treatment.

Dr. Spudich has long been involved in HCM research and has been a founder of two separate companies which are currently engaged in drug trials for potential HCM treatments:  MyoKardia and Cytokinetics.

A story about Dr. Spudich and the inspiration for his work was featured in this recent post on HCMBeat.

Can a Smartwatch Detect HOCM?

According to a limited study recently published in Nature, researchers were able to detect obstructive HCM (HOCM) using a noninvasive optical sensor contained in many commercial smartwatches.

How the Technology Works

These watches used photoplethysmography, a noninvasive optical method used to detect blood volume changes in the microvascular bed at the skin surface.  The same technology is used in clinical pulse oximeters and is now widely incorporated in commercial smartwatches that have heart rate detection.

The Study

For this limited study which was included as an adjunct to MyoKardia’s Phase 2 PIONEER-HCM study of the the drug mavacamten (formerly known as MYK-461), 5 HCM centers in the US obtained smart watch data and echocardiograms from 19 HCM patients who had left ventricular outflow tract obstruction. The researchers compared these readings to readings from a control group of 64 healthy volunteers. The researchers were able to identify significant differences between the heartbeats of those patients with HOCM and those of the healthy volunteers.

Potential for Widespread Use

Before this technology can be put into widespread use, more research is needed to support this limited sample. However, in the future, this technology could potentially prove to be an easy and inexpensive way to screen people for obstructive HCM.

 

 

 

 

 

DISCLOSURES:  HCMBEAT HAS RECEIVED UNRESTRICTED EDUCATIONAL GRANTS FROM MYOKARDIA.  ADDITIONALLY, CYNTHIA BURSTEIN WALDMAN OF HCMBEAT SERVES AS A PATIENT ADVISOR ON THE STEERING COMMITTEE FOR MYOKARDIA’S EXPLORER TRIAL.

Positive Results for MyoKardia Drug Mavacamten

This week in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, MyoKardia reported positive results from its open label phase 2 clinical trial of its drug mavacamten (formerly known as MYK-461) for obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The study was conducted at 5 HCM centers and enrolled 21 subjects with  obstructive HCM. All subjects saw some degree of improvement to their condition after taking mavacamten.

Continue reading “Positive Results for MyoKardia Drug Mavacamten”

How a Louis L’Amour Book about the Southwest Inspired a HCM Discovery

When Stanford biochemist Jim Spudich settled down in bed with a book recommended by his wife, he had no idea that the book would inspire one of the biggest discoveries of his career. Spudich drifted off to sleep while reading The Haunted Mesa, a science fiction novel by Louis L’Amour. His scientific discovery was based on an image he saw in his dreams when the image of a mesa morphed into a myosin molecule.

Continue reading “How a Louis L’Amour Book about the Southwest Inspired a HCM Discovery”

MyoKardia Announces Positive Result for Mavacamten for Treatment of HOCM

This week, MyoKardia announced positive data on its experimental drug for HCM, mavacamten (formerly known as MYK-461), for obstructive HCM.

Continue reading “MyoKardia Announces Positive Result for Mavacamten for Treatment of HOCM”

MyoKardia and 23andMe Create Online HCM Community

MyoKardia is collaborating with 23andMe, a genetic testing company which provides ancestry and health information directly to consumers, to create an online patient community intended to advance research efforts related to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The companies plan to allow 23andMe customers access to the latest information about HCM, as well as the opportunity to participate in research.

The companies will use a custom designed survey to collect baseline and follow-up data from HCM patients. They are hopeful that this collaboration will yield unique insights into HCM.

Research findings gained through the collaboration will be shared with HCM patients through the 23andMe platform.  Currently more than 6,000 HCM patients are customers of 23andMe

More details of the collaboration can be found:

Press release from MyoKardia and 23andMe

P&T Community

Genomeweb

 

 

 

 

DISCLOSURES:  HCMBeat has received unrestricted educational grants from MyoKardia.  Additionally, Cynthia Burstein Waldman of HCMBeat serves as a Patient Advisor on the Steering Committee for MyoKardia’s Explorer trial.

MyoKardia Drug Moves to Next Phase

According to this press release, MyoKardia expects to dose the first patient in the EXPLORER-HCM trial of mavacamten (formerly known as MYK-461) for obstructive HCM in the second quarter of 2018.

MyoKardia says that it expects 220 patients to enroll in the 30 week long trial.  These patients will be randomly assigned to receive either mavacamten or a placebo.  Participants will also be able to continue on their normal beta blockers or calcium channel blockers.

 

Can Fitness Tracker Biometrics Spot HOCM?

MyoKardia, a San Francisco biotech company currently in clinical trials on a HCM drug called Mavacamten, has come up with a way to spot HOCM simply by using a wristband fitness monitor. The wristband works through the use of optical biosensors which monitor arterial pulse waves.  

During MyoKardia’s trials, the bracelet biosensors were used on HOCM patients and non-affected controls.  The algorithm was able to distinguish HOCM patients from unaffected individuals more than 95% of the time, suggesting that a non-invasive way to screen for HOCM may not be too far in the future.

The linked article at Medgadget contains an interview with MyoKardia’s Dr. Robert McDowell, MyoKardia’s Chief Scientific Officer, and Dr. Eric Green, MyoKardia’s Senior Director of Translational Research with more on the happenings at MyoKardia.

 

Encouraging Results for MyoKardia HCM Drug

MyoKardia’s stock prices jumped today after their recent Stage II trial of the experimental drug mavacamten (formally known as MYK-461)  demonstrated a statistically significant reduction to left ventricular outflow tract gradients as well as improvement to aerobic capacity in patients with obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.  

Of the 10 patients who completed the study, 8 saw their gradient reduced to normal levels after 12 weeks on the drug.  The study also showed improvements in both peak oxygen consumption (peak VO2) and New York Heart Association classifications:  7 patients moved up one NYHA class while 2 patients improved by two classes.

The drug seemed to have mild to moderate side effects, though one patient was forced to drop out of the trial due to a recurrence of atrial fibrillation which necessitated discontinuation of mavacamten and a return to anti-arrythmic drugs which had been discontinued due to participation in the trial.

MyoKardia hopes to enroll between 200 and 250 patients in its next phase trial (Explorer HCM) which it plans to begin before the end of 2017.

MyoKardia also plans a clinical trial of mavacamten in non-obstructive HCM patients in the second half of 2017.

For more information on MyoKardia and  recent drugs being developed for HCM read these past blog entries:

MyoKardia HCM Drug Has Success in Cats

End of the Road for Eleclazine and Liberty HCM Study

HCM Drug Trial Advances to Next Round

Drug for Non-Obstructive HCM Moves Along

A Conversation with Duke’s Dr. Andrew Wang – Creator of the HCM Care App

A few months ago, HCMBeat featured this post about HCM Care, a new educational website and downloadable app for HCM patients and their families, featuring essential information for patients trying to understand their HCM diagnosis, explained in written and video formats.  HCM Care also provides useful information about genetic testing and family screening for their family members.

myokardia_mockup (003)

Dr. Andrew Wang of Duke University’s HCM Clinic in Durham, N.C., developed HCM Care along with 8 other HCM specialists from 6 hospitals, including Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic and Tufts Medical Center.  Funding and support for the project were provided by MyoKardia, a San Francisco biotech company engaged in the development of a precision medicine approach to the treatment of genetic cardiomyopathies. Their HCM medication, MYK-461, is currently in clinical trials in the U.S.

Cynthia Burstein Waldman of HCM Beat had the opportunity via email to talk with Dr. Wang about his HCM practice and his involvement with the development of HCM Care.  What follows is their written correspondence, edited for clarity:

Continue reading “A Conversation with Duke’s Dr. Andrew Wang – Creator of the HCM Care App”