Cardiologists Discuss One Health Approaches to Heart Disease

UC Davis continues to lead the way in a growing approach to medicine called One Health. Understanding that the health of humans, animals and the environment are all connected and may hold discoveries for each other is the foundation of One Health. A cornerstone of that approach is studying the diseases animals and humans share. One of those is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a heart disease that results in thickening of the walls of the heart ventricles, interfering with the flow of blood, and leading to sometimes fatal consequences. The condition can be difficult to study in humans due to its low rate of occurrence (about 1 in 500). However, veterinarians are proving to be a much welcomed addition to that research, for they see a condition that almost exactly resembles human HCM in approximately 10 percent of cats.

Recently, the world’s leading veterinary cardiologists (including UC Davis’ Dr. Joshua Stern), human cardiologists, cardiovascular researchers and regenerative medicine researchers gathered at the conclusion of the American College of Cardiology’s annual meeting for an exciting One Health conference. The conference, titled “Many Species, One Health: Regenerative Medicine Meets Comparative Medicine for Cardiomyopathy and Beyond,” focused on translational cardiology for cardiomyopathies. 

The gathering was co-sponsored by a grant from the Clinical and Translational Science Award One Health Alliance (COHA), a group of 14 prominent national universities (including UC Davis) whose translational science centers are bridging the gap between human and veterinary medicine. Dr. Stern was a contributor to the COHA grant that funded the conference, where he presented lectures on HCM.

Dr. Stern, whose specialty focus is in inherited heart disease, is a leading researcher in translational studies of HCM. He has worked extensively with human medicine counterparts to advance the understanding of, and treatments for, this disease.

“Unfortunately, there has been little to no progress in advancing the treatment of HCM in humans or animals for many years,” said Dr. Stern. “We hope that these One Health collaborations, and our better understanding of this disease, can change that.”

To view a short video (“Genetics: A Closer Look”) about how Dr. Stern’s HCM research in cats benefits humans, search “HCM” at (there is no direct link to the video). 

In addition to Dr. Stern from UC Davis, the conference included faculty from several veterinary schools, including Cornell University, North Carolina State University, Tufts University, the University of Florida, the University of Illinois, and the University of Wisconsin. Human cardiologists, regenerative medicine experts, and other participants with a cardiovascular research focus attended from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Food and Drug Administration, the Mayo Clinic, the Montefiore Einstein Center for Heart and Vascular Care, the NYU School of Medicine, Tufts Medical Center, and the University of Florida’s Center for Regenerative Medicine, Powell Gene Therapy Center, and School of Medicine.

Through the course of the two-day conference, participants engaged in presentations and discussions geared toward advancing translational cardiology, particularly in the area of cardiomyopathies. The group looks forward to continued collaborations and engaging in more One Health approaches to HCM.

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