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Carrie Lenneman Awarded Faculty Development Grant

Carrie Lenneman, MD, an associate professor of Cardiovascular Disease, received funding from the UAB Faculty Development Grant Program, which provides seed money for research, scholarly activity, and creative works. Her grant is titled, “Characterizing the Cardiac Effects of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors.” Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) are a class of cancer immunotherapy that activates a patient’s own T-cells to fight the cancer.

Cardiovascular toxicities associated with cancer therapies are common. Recently there has been an explosion of novel immune-mediated cancer therapies, which have dramatically improved survival in patients with melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, renal cell cancer, and refractory Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“During the past two years, ICIs have been widely used to treat cancer patients, thus we are seeing a rise in cardiac and immune-related complications,” Dr. Lenneman says. “Cardiac myocarditis is a rare complication that can range in severity from mild heart failure to severe cardiogenic shock and death. Although current cancer clinical trials only describe myocarditis in less than 1% of cases, the true incidence in a real-world population has not fully been characterized. Case reports of smoldering sub-clinical myocarditis also have been reported, but the true incidence and the clinical implications are not known. Therefore we propose to create a registry and bio-repository of patients treated with ICIs at UAB and the Birmingham VA Hospital with carefully phenotyped cardiovascular profiles to elucidate the incidence of myocardial injury and inflammation, with longitudinal follow-up.”

The name of the registry being created is Monitoring Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors for CardiToxicitY (MIghTY).