Part of the Kawasaki Kids Foundation’s mission is to find a cure for Kawasaki Disease. Every year a portion of funds raised by Kawasaki Kids Foundation are donated to the Children’s Hospital Colorado for ongoing research.
Kawasaki Disease is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children in the developed world. Despite available treatment with intravenous immunoglobulin and aspirin, patients sometimes develop coronary artery abnormalities (dilation and aneurysms) that can lead to complications later in life, including heart attacks. Although doctors can identify children with Kawasaki Disease that have these coronary artery abnormalities, there is no approved treatment to decrease coronary artery inflammation or prevent damage to the coronary arteries.
“Statins” are a class of drugs known for lowering cholesterol. Statins have also shown to decrease inflammation of the vessel wall. Atorvastatin (Lipitor) belongs to this class of drugs and is already used in patients 8 years and older to lower cholesterol. Atorvastatin has not been routinely used in children younger than 6 years old and it has not previously been used in acute Kawasaki Disease.
Kawasaki doctors at Rady Children’s Hospital (San Diego, CA) and Children’s Hospital Colorado (Aurora, CO) are conducting a study to evaluate atorvastatin use in children with Kawasaki Disease. The study is designed to evaluate the safety of atorvastatin use in children 2-years-old through 17 with newly diagnosed Kawasaki Disease and coronary artery abnormalities. If atorvastatin is proven safe, future studies would be needed to test the effectiveness of atorvastatin in improving coronary artery outcomes in patients with Kawasaki Disease.
Children’s Hospital Colorado will be starting a new research project looking at microRNA in Kawasaki Disease patients. This will occur after funding is secured for the study.
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*Update courtesy of Children’s Hospital Colorado