CLEVELAND (WJW) — This American Heart Month, the Cleveland Clinic is leading a new clinical trial that could one day cure a type of heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, also known as HCM.
“We are working on developing gene therapy,” said Dr. Milind Desai, director of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center at the Cleveland Clinic.
“If everything works out well, we can give one injection in a specific type of genetic mutation, which can potentially help cure HCM.”
One of the most outspoken advocates living with the condition is former Miss Ohio Lindsay Davis, who helped create the namesake legislation Lindsay’s Law in 2017.
A ballerina for years, Davis was forced to stop pursuing her athletic career following her diagnosis.
“I was a ballerina from the time I was 3 years old and on and in my teen years I started having these symptoms where I couldn’t get my heart to calm down,” said Davis. “I was over-fatigued. I was fainting.”
HCM is a disease where the heart muscle becomes thickened, making it more difficult for the heart to pump blood. Desai said many patients are asymptomatic.
However, some people experience shortness of breath which can progress to symptoms similar to heart failure. The doctor said sudden cardiac death is a rare complication.
“The Cleveland Clinic is heavily involved in multiple clinical trials that are testing the effect of this new therapy in improving the quality of life and significantly reducing the need for cardiac surgery in HCM patients,” said Desai.
Although a cure is still years away, doctors are hopeful the research underway could change the lives of HCM patients.
“We’re living in this incredible time in science right now that’s progressing so quickly and there’s so many treatments on the horizon and that just makes me so hopeful to hear of a treatment like that could give us, give HCM patients, a much more normal life,” said Davis.