For Londoners Dhairya and Karina Choudhrie, the heart condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy hits close to home. Although a family member received successful treatment for this disease, which enlarges and weakens the heart’s chambers, the Choudhries were surprised to learn that its genetic causes remain a mystery.
“We began to seek out researchers working to solve the problems of dilated cardiomyopathy,” says Dhairya. “That’s when we met Dr. Christine Seidman.”
As director of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Cardiovascular Genetics Center, Seidman has dedicated her career to investigating the genetic predisposition to cardiovascular disease that strikes families like the Choudhries.
With a generous contribution from the Choudhrie Family Foundation, Seidman is advancing her pioneering studies to understand, diagnose, and treat dilated cardiomyopathy—a heart muscle disease inherited by up to one-third of those who are diagnosed.
“The Choudhries’ generous gift will help us advance our knowledge of genetic variants that cause dilated cardiomyopathy, as well as the development of more targeted care,” says Seidman. “Knowing the precise cause allows us to make earlier diagnoses that identify people at risk and to create models that define the mechanisms of disease. In the past five years we have made considerable progress, and now the stage is set to develop new treatment strategies.”
Seidman’s work ranges from building molecule prototypes that prevent or slow down the decrease of heart function to testing these molecules’ effectiveness in clinical trials. In late 2016, she earned the Joseph A. Vita Award from the American Heart Association “for her laboratory’s transformative achievements in identifying the molecular basis for inherited forms of heart failure,” including dilated cardiomyopathy.
“Dr. Seidman is dedicated, inspiring, and fully committed to her work,” says Dhairya. “If anyone is interested in supporting medical research, you couldn’t hope to find a better institution in America than the Brigham.”