A treatment intended to help our feline friends may hold potential in treating a type of heart disease that plagues cats and humans. Seeker reported that recent trials conducted using the drug MYK-461 show promising results in diminishing symptoms of hypertonic cardiomyopathy (HCM).
HCM is a form of heart disease that is incredibly common in cats, affecting one in seven animals. The disease thickens ventricle walls and can lead to blood clots, congestive heart failure and sudden death.
People are also impacted by this disease and it is estimated that one in 500 humans have HCM or can develop it at any age. HCM can be inherited, develop with age, develop in conjunction with high blood pressure or because of unknown causes. While some may live normal lives and never know they have the disease, others experience worsening chest pain and fatigue and some, even healthy athletes, succumb to sudden death.
A team from the University of California (UC), Davis veterinary program has been working hard to treat the disease. “There has been little to no progress in advancing the treatment of HCM in humans or animals for many years,” said Joshua Stern, chief of the cardiology service at the UC Davis veterinary hospital.
The drug has been tested in a small trial in which five cats were administered the treatment. In all five, the drug eliminated left-ventricle obstruction, findings that were reported in the journal PLOS ONE.
As of now, the treatment only serves to address symptoms of HCM, rather than stop the disease in its progression, though the scientists noted that the same drug had similar results when used on mice.
The study is one step forward in understanding and treating HCM, and researchers are hopeful that one day the drug could be used to treat humans as well as their furry friends.
Top photo by Mohamed Aymen Bettaieb CC BY 2.0
Lauren Leising is a science intern and a freelance writer based in Athens, Georgia.