ISHLT Foundation Will Fund PH, Transplant Research Efforts

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by Steve Bryson, PhD |

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The International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) has launched the ISHLT Foundation, a new organization that will serve as ISHLT’s charitable arm to fund research grants and awards to improve patient care for advanced heart and lung diseases, including pulmonary hypertension (PH).

In PH, high pressure in the blood vessels of the lungs limits the amount of oxygen throughout the body, causing symptoms such as shortness of breath, excessive fatigue, chest pain, and fainting. This high blood pressure strains the heart, which ultimately can lead to heart failure.

Although progress has been made in the treatment of PH, there is still no cure, and when PH worsens one option is a lung and/or heart transplant.

ISHLT has funded research into heart and lung transplant, organ rejection, immune modulation, mechanical circulatory support, and improving the lives of pediatric transplant recipients.

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“The Foundation will ensure sustainable, continuous innovation and development for the global community of researchers and clinicians working with this patient population,” ISHLT’s CEO Greg Schultz said in a press release. “We are excited to build a diverse portfolio of grants and awards that advance the values and mission of this unique, international, multidisciplinary organization.”

The Foundation is steered by an 11-member board of trustees, chaired by James Kirklin, MD, a former ISHLT president. The formation of the ISHLT Foundation will help focus the ISHLT community on raising research funding in PH, transplant, and mechanical circulatory support.

Along with the launch of the Foundation, ISHLT also announced the Fostering Excellence fundraising campaign to boost the collective impact of ISHLT members, corporate partners, and others supporting this research.

“The Fostering Excellence Campaign presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for members within the ISHLT community to step up and to lead this visionary initiative,” said Kirklin. “Our organization is at a crossroads, and this effort will allow the ISHLT Foundation to fund programs that will positively impact the lives of countless patients around the world.”

“I’m committed to doing my part, and hope my friends and colleagues join me in supporting the Foundation,” Kirklin added.

The Fostering Excellence Campaign, chaired by member Francis Pagani, MD, PhD, alongside corporate chair Reg Seeto, CEO and president of CareDx, has already raised nearly $5 million from members and organization partners.

“The creation of the ISHLT Foundation is an important step to driving the next wave of innovations and to support the best and brightest in our field as they explore new medical frontiers,” said Seeto.