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Press release content from NewMediaWire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

New $3 million research initiative will focus on improving outcomes for children undergoing heart transplants

November 13, 2019 GMT
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American Heart Association logo
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American Heart Association logo

( NewMediaWire ) - November 13, 2019 - DALLAS - More than 500 children undergo heart transplants in the U.S. each year, joining the thousands of children living with a new heart, and while medical advancements have improved over the years, many of these children and their families still face a lifetime of challenges.

Working to improve treatment and outcomes for pediatric heart transplant recipients, the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease, and Enduring Hearts, the only non-profit organization dedicated to funding research that helps kids with heart transplants live longer, healthier lives, are joining together to fund $3 million in new research grants.

The need for research in this area is especially important given the age of the patients, coupled with the fact that the average heart transplant lasts only 12 years. One in four transplants will fail within five years, largely due to organ rejection, and less than 5% of patients will have another transplant.

“The American Heart Association is committed to a world of longer, healthier lives and this research can make a significant impact for generations to come for our youngest, most vulnerable population,” said Joseph C. Wu, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the American Heart Association Research Committee, director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute and Simon H. Stertzer Professor of Medicine Radiology at Stanford University School of Medicine. “This is an exciting opportunity to join with Enduring Hearts in support of this emerging research field and we look forward to the scientific discoveries to come.”

“Enduring Hearts exists to fundamentally improve the health and quality of life of pediatric heart transplant recipients worldwide by funding transformative and groundbreaking research,” said Ankur Chatterjee, Enduring Hearts Board President. “This new collaborative research grant is geared toward focusing the attention of the scientific community on new and innovative research in traditionally underfunded areas. Aggressively funding this type of research with the American Heart Association is vital so we can help ensure each child living with a new heart is able to live a longer, healthier life.”

The grants will be awarded to investigators actively conducting research directly related to improving the life expectancy and quality of life of pediatric heart transplant recipients. Areas of research focus may include:

evidence-based strategies for improving treatment adherence;

early and accurate identification of acute cellular and antibody-mediated rejection and other post-transplantation complications, including the development of accurate non-invasive methods and strategies for surveillance;

studies on the causes, prevention and treatment of cardiac allograft vasculopathy which is caused when the blood vessels supplying the transplanted heart gradually narrow and restrict blood flow;

strategies to improve the viability of donor hearts, and the development of novel immunotherapies by the identification of novel targets, by improving the side-effect profiles of immunotherapies, and/or by improving methods for monitoring the level of immunosuppression;

the development of new technologies that would address any of these priority areas will also be considered.

The request for applications will be issued in January 2020, with final research grants being announced in November 2020.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

About Enduring Hearts

Atlanta-based Enduring Hearts launched in 2013 with a mission to fund research that increases the longevity of pediatric heart transplants, improve the quality of life for children living with a new heart and eliminate pediatric heart diseases that may lead to a transplant. Connect with us on enduringhearts.org, Facebook or Twitter.

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For Media Inquiries:

American Heart Association: Cathy Lewis, cathy.lewis@heart.org; (214) 706-1324

Enduring Hearts: Thomas Smith, thomas@enduringhearts.org; (404) 291-4929

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org