LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The OneLegacy Foundation has announced the awarding of two research grants, both designed to make more organs available for donation and transplantation and thus lessen the wait for the more than 115,000 Americans who are currently on a waiting list to receive a second chance at life.
The grants, totaling more than $100,000, were awarded to UCLA Medical Center and Cedars Sinai Medical Center. They are the latest grants in the foundation’s goal of donating more than $1.5 million this year alone toward scientific research and community sponsorships that support the advancement of organ and tissue donation.
The grant of $55,000 to UCLA Medical Center is in connection with the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act, which was passed in 2013 and which makes it legal for HIV-positive organs to be used in transplant for HIV-positive recipients, a practice that had previously been illegal. UCLA has pledged to participate in a multi-center clinical trial called “Hope in Action” led by Johns Hopkins University.
“A growing number of HIV-positive to HIV-positive transplants have already been performed in the United States with excellent results,” said Earle Crandall, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the OneLegacy Foundation grants and gifts committee. “We are excited to lend our support of this exciting new protocol in hope that we can constructively impact the many HIV-positive patients in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas through the high-volume kidney transplant program at UCLA.”
The grant to Cedars Sinai Medical Center of just under $50,000 is to support a program that will potentially allow organs from Hepatitis C patients to be transplanted. These organs are currently not used for transplantation given concerns about transmission of the Hepatitis C virus in the blood. But new treatments now available are opening the door to new possibilities.
“Organs from Hepatitis C patients have historically been unusable and discarded, but incredible advances in the science of transplantation means that these organs can now save someone’s life,” said Dr. Crandall. “This is exceptionally significant because more eligible donors translate into shorter time on the waiting list for potential recipients hoping to receive the gift of life.”
Funded by the nonprofit OneLegacy—the nation’s largest organ, eye and tissue recovery organization—the OneLegacy Foundation works to educate and inspire people to take action in support of living and deceased donation. The foundation is the lead sponsor of the annual Donate Life Rose Parade float every January 1 in Pasadena as well as the annual Donate Life Run/Walk, which this year attracted more than 12,000 participants in support of the power and impact of donation.
The OneLegacy Foundation’s grants and gifts committee supports the advancement of human organ and tissue donation and transplantation through education and scientific research to improve outcomes for donors, their families and recipients. Many of the research projects the foundation supports focus on how to minimize immune rejection; how to preserve organs and tissues so they will be in better condition for transplantation; and how to advance clinical innovations that allow for the successful transplantation of lifesaving hearts, livers, lungs, kidneys and pancreas.
Currently more than 15 projects are underway with the support of the foundation. These range from scientific research taking place at (in addition to UCLA and Cedars Sinai) the University of Southern California, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian and Loma Linda University Medical Center to important community outreach activities through (among others) Ava’s Heart Foundation and the Comfort Zone Camp.
Grant requests are reviewed on a quarterly basis. To find out more about the grant process or the work of the foundation itself, go to onelegacyfoundation.org.