Funding available for research on donor heart quality

Enduring Hearts is accepting proposals for funding of research focused on improving the quality of donor hearts worldwide and the utilization, allocation and matching of pediatric donor hearts in the United States.

The nonprofit organization’s goal is curate and accelerate research that will save the lives of children living with a transplanted heart and end-stage heart failure.

While the waitlist mortality for children listed for heart transplantation is high, the number of pediatric organ donors has declined in the recent era. This is compounded by the rejection of more than 40 percent of pediatric donor hearts offered for transplantation. While the reasons for this are multifactorial, there is significant variability in donor acceptance practices across centers and heart transplant providers and limited evidence to guide clinical practices regarding optimal donor selection and donor-to-recipient matching. In addition, there is limited understanding of how to optimize transport conditions or other novel preservation to improve the longevity and/or quality of donor hearts.

Because of this, in partnership with the Hoffmann Schroepfer Foundation, the organization’s Scientific Advisory Committee seeks to fund projects up to two years and $300,000, with an optional third year based on progress, that demonstrate a combination of the best science, innovation and potential for clinical impact.

Letters of intent are due Aug. 15, 2019, with a full proposal due Nov. 1, 2019.

June 20, 2019 Penn State College of Medicine News

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RFP Details: Enduring Hearts Funding

Areas of Research Expand answer

Specific areas of research requested for the current proposal include:

  • Increasing donor availability
    • Increasing pediatric organ donation rates
    • Expanding use of donation after circulatory death
  • Improving donor quality
    • Improving donor management
    • Ex-vivo perfusion and new technologies
    • Novel preservation strategies
  • Improving utilization and acceptance of potentially usable pediatric donor hearts
    • Improving evidence of pediatric-specific donor co-morbidities
    • Improving utilization of high-risk or marginal donors
    • Projects addressing the impact of regulatory oversight on donor acceptance
  • Improving donor-to-recipient matching
    • Strategies surrounding recipient sensitization
    • Novel techniques for donor-to-recipient size matching
Eligibility Expand answer

All proposed research projects must be led by a principal investigator who holds a doctorate (PhD, MD, etc.) or related research degree. The principal investigator must be an independent investigator.

Applicants may apply to multiple grants, but can only be the principal investigator on one application.

Letter of Intent Requirements Expand answer

The letter of intent should include the following information. A maximum of three pages will be accepted.

Page 1

  • The name(s) and academic affiliations of the primary investigator and key collaborating investigators
  • The Enduring Hearts targeted research area that the proposal addresses
  • A regular-language summary (250 words)

Page 2

  • A structured abstract of the research concept including:
    • Background rationale and hypothesis
    • Specific aims
    • Research methods
    • Anticipated results including clinical significance

Page 3

  • Supporting documentation such as key references
Full Proposal Requirements Expand answer

Proposal Information

If a full proposal is requested, it must include the following.

  • Cover page, including:
    • Project title (a short title identifying the project and its intended area of focus)
    • Principal investigator name and the applicant organization’s name
    • Technical abstract
  • Aims and milestones (one page or less)
    • Provide a summary of what the project aims to accomplish and the major milestones the principal investigator anticipates the project will complete in the process of meeting said project aims). Major milestones should include estimated timeframe of completion.
  • Full research proposal (six pages or less)
    • Significance
    • Approach and specific aims
    • Innovation
  • Team capabilities (one page or less)
    • Provide a statement outlining the research group’s ability to address the research
      question, support the research and manage patients, if applicable, and identifying any key personnel in addition to the principal investigator.
  • References cited (one page or less)

Full proposals should be no longer than 11 pages.

Additional Documentation

Additional documentation shall include:

  • Information about the applicant organization and the lead investigator it has selected, including contact information for the lead investigator and the authorized representative of the applicant organization which will receive the grant correspondence and funds.
  • Lay summary (succinct summary describing the project’s aims, goals, any previous accomplishments, and how it will benefit the scientific field. This should be one page or less.
  • Budget of up to one page.
  • NIH biosketch from primary investigators.
  • Institution letter of commitment stating that applicant organization will be able to support the research led by the principal investigator.
Budget Request Details Expand answer
  • Total budget of up to $300,000.
  • Budget should include a narrative summary and justification for each item, including how the principal investigator intends to spend their time on the project). Acceptable expenditures will include salary, equipment, software, patient recruitment, fringe benefits, salary for hired personnel, project-related travel, publication costs and up to 10 percent indirect expenses to support institutional infrastructure.
  • No awards will be made for projects that receive overlapping funding from other sources (unless supplementary in nature) or that duplicate other projects already funded.
  • Award periods may not last longer than two years.
Requirements Expand answer

In order for an investigator to receive the award, the following requirements must be met:

  • The primary investigator agrees to provide Enduring Hearts a biannual scientific progress reports with an accompanying lay summary. Information shall be treated as confidential, unless otherwise discussed/agreed upon.
  • Acknowledgment of Enduring Hearts and Hoffmann Schroepfer support should be made in any publication or presentation resulting from this award, with logo as appropriate.
  • Enduring Hearts may publish the principal investigator’s name, project title and institutional affiliation except in purchased media advertising.
  • The principal investigator is strongly encouraged to submit, and copy Enduring Hearts on, at least one abstract and/or manuscript during this project and related to this project as proposed.
  • If any member of the Enduring Hearts Scientific Advisory Committee should become materially involved with this research, the institution should provide an acceptable conflict of interest mitigation plan for review to the officers on Enduring Hearts. This plan should address whether the doctor(s) involved with Enduring Hearts that are also participating in the research will receive any other non-monetary benefits because from their participation in the research; it should address the process or procedure the institution will use in overseeing the proposed conflict of interest mitigation plan, if applicable.

To Apply

Investigators who plan to apply for this funding opportunity must contact Jessica Kiely, Associate Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations, at jkiely1@pennstatehealth.psu.edu or 717-531-8497.

Note that all proposals must be submitted through the Office of Research Affairs and adhere to review/submission timelines.

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