Pediatric Heart Transplant

A Novel Technique to Revolutionize Pediatric Heart Transplantation

The Woodson Clinical Research Initative provides seed grants to scientists whose burgeoning ideas have the greatest potential for impact. This research will advance new therapies for life- threatening childhood diseases and conditions that limit a child’s lifetime potential, such as cancer, congenital heart disease, sickle cell disease, kidney disorders and developmental conditions like autism.


Pediatric heart transplantation is limited because it is difficult to match donor organ size to the patient and the cold storage methods used today only allow the heart to be viable for 4-6 hours. If it were possible to successfully preserve pediatric hearts for 24 hours or more, the possibilities of pediatric heart transplantation would be greatly increased. This project offers the opportunity to do exactly that.

Dr. Bocks, Dr. Owens and their team are looking at the possibility of using insights learned in the ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) lab to develop a new warm perfusion technique to keep these tiny hearts alive. If successful, this technique – which essentially allows the heart to keep beating during transport -- will dramatically affect pediatric heart surgeons’ ability to save the lives of many more babies.

Awarded: May, 2013
Amount: $111,115