NOVEL BIOMARKERS AND THERAPIES IN KAWASAKI DISEASE
Kawasaki disease is a common infectious disease of childhood, whose after-effects cause lifelong damage to the heart. In the developed world, it is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children, outpacing rheumatic heart disease for the last several decades. Many children with Kawasaki disease require life-long medications to prevent complications of the disease, as well as frequent and intensive follow up with cardiologists. Rates of interventional procedures and adverse events later in life can be very high. Our collaborative project seeks to leverage unique skills and already ongoing work in San Antonio to develop novel biomarkers and potentially avenues for new treatments for this disease. Our approach is to evaluate proteins from the heart tissue of mice affected with this disease, and correlate this to disease activity, functional changes and translate this to human samples. Our team has unique skills in evaluating biomarkers in mouse models of disease, as well as functional evaluation of the heart in the mouse, and we have already begun to develop preliminary data. The results of this project could impact childhood health broadly, decreasing the expense and stress of lifelong medication and interventions, and helping to identify children who may be at higher risk of future complications. By pursuing this project in San Antonio, we would raise the profile of the city in terms of health research, and also potentially lay the groundwork to create a Kawasaki disease consortium here that could continue to motivate additional research.