The research of Leslie T. Cooper, M.D., is focused on the evaluation and diagnosis of rare and undiagnosed cardiomyopathies — especially autoimmune variants of myocarditis. Most of Dr. Cooper's research involves clinical studies.
- Giant cell myocarditis. When Dr. Cooper began investigating giant cell myocarditis, the disease had a 100 percent rate of death or heart transplantation and a survival rate of less than three months. First in a retrospective international registry, and subsequently in a prospective trial, Dr. Cooper established the then-novel and now-standard immunosuppressive regimen that has resulted in the current one-year survival rate of 90 percent. Approximately one-third of patients who are treated with this regimen regain normal cardiac function and have no cardiac symptoms.
- Myocarditis Foundation. Dr. Cooper co-founded the Myocarditis Foundation in 2005. The foundation serves approximately 50,000 people every month through its website, social media, conferences and toll-free call line.
- Myocarditis biobank. Dr. Cooper created a biobank of myocarditis tissues including serum, plasma and DNA throughout a 20-year clinical practice at Mayo Clinic. Discoveries based on his biobank samples include the role of desmosomal protein disruption in myocarditis-associated arrhythmias; the cross reactivity of antibodies to the S2 fragments of human cardiac myosin with the beta-adrenergic receptors; the role of Fyn kinase in giant cell myocarditis; and the role of Th17/Treg imbalance in persistent systolic dysfunction due to myocarditis.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Cooper's contributions to the research field of myocarditis have led to improved outcomes for patients with this disease.
- Chair, Myocarditis and Pericarditis work group, Global Burden of Disease project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 2007-present
- Co-founder, Myocarditis Foundation, 2005-present