New drug for heart disease shows promise for cats and humans

December 22, 2016 by Rob Warren, UC Davis
UC Davis veterinary cardiologist Joshua Stern performs an echocardiogram on a cat, assisted by animal health technicians Heather Schrader, right, and Judy Schettler. Credit: Don Preisler/UC Davis

A new drug shows promise for treating heart disease in cats and humans, according to research by a team including veterinarians at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine.

The novel drug, MYK-461, proved effective in a study of five cats with a naturally occurring form of inherited hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a currently incurable disease that also affects humans. A paper describing the work was published Dec. 14 in the journal PLOS ONE.

HCM is the most common form of feline heart disease and results in thickening of the walls of the heart ventricles and altering of heart function. It frequently leads to fatal consequences. Cats with this disease may suffer , and sudden death. In humans, HCM is a frequent cause of that can even afflict seemingly healthy young athletes.

HCM affects approximately one in 500 people and was recently reported to affect a startling one in seven cats. More than 1,500 genetic mutations have been associated with the disease in humans, creating challenges for researchers. However, veterinary scientists are making strides in identifying the best treatment options for the disease since the cat condition and human condition are so similar.

In the study, treatment with MYK-461 eliminated left ventricular obstruction in five cats with HCM. The is the first in its class and uniquely addresses the functional changes that are seen in and feline HCM.

"This is an exciting discovery for both animals and humans – an excellent representation of the One Health concept in action," said Associate Professor Joshua Stern, chief of the Cardiology Service at the UC Davis veterinary hospital. "The positive result in these five cats shows that MYK-461 is viable for use in cats as a possible option to halt or slow the progression of HCM."

MYK-461 was already shown to stop the thickening of the ventricle walls in mice.

Current treatment for cats with HCM is largely symptomatic. There is no preventative therapy for HCM that is shown to change the course of .

"There has been little to no progress in advancing the treatment of HCM in humans or animals for many years," Stern said. "This study brings new hope for cats and people."

With this proof of concept that the drug is viable for use in cats, UC Davis hopes to conduct a clinical trial in the near future, which could determine if MYK-461 has the potential to become the accepted protocol for care of with HCM.

Explore further: Researchers study stem-cell therapy for feline kidney disease

More information: Joshua A. Stern et al. A Small Molecule Inhibitor of Sarcomere Contractility Acutely Relieves Left Ventricular Outflow Tract Obstruction in Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, PLOS ONE (2016). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0168407

E. M. Green et al. A small-molecule inhibitor of sarcomere contractility suppresses hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in mice, Science (2016). DOI: 10.1126/science.aad3456

Related Stories

Researchers study stem-cell therapy for feline kidney disease

January 9, 2014
Chronic kidney disease in older cats is the focus of a fifth clinical trial under way at Colorado State University's James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, where veterinarians are exploring novel stem-cell therapy that ...

Cat stem cell therapy gives humans hope

February 2, 2016
By the time Bob the cat came to the UC Davis veterinary hospital, he had used up most of his nine lives. Afflicted with a painful oral inflammatory disorder, Bob had already lost all of his teeth in an effort to treat the ...

Chronic kidney disease in cats—Expert guidance on a quality of life issue

March 2, 2016
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a common, complex and progressive disease that is estimated to affect more than a third of cats over 10 years of age. Affected cats often present with a variety of clinical signs and complications ...

Recommended for you

Surgery involving ultrasound energy found to treat high blood pressure

May 23, 2018
An operation that targets the nerves connected to the kidney has been found to significantly reduce blood pressure in patients with hypertension, according to the results of a clinical trial led in the UK by Queen Mary University ...

New guidelines mean 1 in 3 adults may need blood pressure meds

May 23, 2018
(HealthDay)—One out of every three U.S. adults has high blood pressure that should be treated with medication, under guidelines recently adopted by the two leading heart health associations.

To have or not to have... your left atrial appendage closed

May 22, 2018
Each year in the U.S., more than 300,000 people have heart surgery. To reduce risk of stroke for their patients, surgeons often will close the left atrial appendage, which is a small sac in the left side of the heart where ...

Natural antioxidant bilirubin may improve cardiovascular health

May 18, 2018
Bilirubin, a yellow-orange pigment, is formed after the breakdown of red blood cells and is eliminated by the liver. It's not only a sign of a bruise, it may provide cardiovascular benefits, according to a large-scale epidemiology ...

New algorithm more accurately predicts life expectancy after heart failure

May 17, 2018
A new algorithm developed by UCLA researchers more accurately predicts which people will survive heart failure, and for how long, whether or not they receive a heart transplant. The algorithm would allow doctors to make more ...

New genes found that determine how the heart responds to exercise

May 17, 2018
A new study by researchers at Queen Mary University of London and University College London (UCL) has discovered 30 new gene locations that determine how the heart responds to and recovers from exercise.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.