Fibroblast cell isolation and expansion and iPSC derivation in purebred Maine Coon and Ragdoll cats

Inclusion criteria: Maine Coon or Ragdoll cats of any age, with or without previous diagnosis of heart disease but MUST have genetic testing results through NC State Genetics laboratory (results from other genetic testing companies cannot be substituted). Only cats with a homozygous genetic result qualify. Results of NC State genetic testing must be received by our study team prior to determine patient eligibility for the study.

Exclusion criteria: Mixed breed cats and Maine Coon or Ragdoll cats with a normal genetic result.

Study procedures: At the initial visit you will be asked to give your cat a sedative pill (gabapentin) orally about 45 minutes prior to examination to relax them. If you cannot do this yourself, the staff will do this for you. A board-certified veterinary cardiologist or resident in veterinary cardiology will provide a full cardiac physical examination, including a cardiac auscultation (listening to the heart with a stethoscope), ultrasound of the heart (echocardiogram), and an electrical recording of the heart’s activity (electrocardiogram or ECG). Two whiskers (one from each side of the face) with an intact hair follicle will quickly be plucked, and up to 6 mL (2 tsp) of blood will be drawn and saved for future research.

Costs: The initial gabapentin, examination, echocardiogram and electrocardiogram are performed free of charge. Any additional follow-up recommendations, diagnostics, and medications are not covered by this study. The cost of genetic testing is approximately $40 and can be ordered through the NC State genetic testing center. To order first purchase the test kit to be mailed to your home here: . Once you have received the at home test kit samples are then mailed back to the lab for submission:  

Contact: Dr. Amara Estrada 

Additional Study Contact: or the Clinical Studies Team at 352-294-4389


Background: Two separate genetic mutations in Maine Coon and Ragdoll cats have been linked to the development of heart disease in these breeds. The purpose of this study is to establish a novel non-invasive sampling technique in order to create a bank of cells from Maine Coon and Ragdoll cats who are at risk for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. These cells may be used in the future to investigate a new treatment involving gene editing to correct the genetic mutation related to this disease in these breeds.


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