Stanford Researcher Wins Award for Work on Post-Transplant Rejection

  • Kiran Khush, M.D., honored with ISHLT/Enduring Hearts Transplant Longevity Award
  • Research reveals potential cause and treatment for chronic rejection after heart transplantation
ADDISON, Texas – June 12, 2019 – Kiran Khush, M.D., Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Stanford University, was awarded the ISHLT/Enduring Hearts Transplant Longevity Award for her work examining a new pathway involved in the development of chronic rejection after heart transplantation, which opens the door for innovative treatment options.

This bi-annual award, fully funded by the nonprofit Enduring Hearts, offers researchers significant financial resources for work that furthers the scientific understanding of the determinants of transplanted heart longevity and thereby improve the quality and duration of life. Enduring Hearts is an organization dedicated to curating research into pediatric heart transplants and end-stage heart failure. The International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation is comprised of nearly 4,000 medical professionals focused on end-stage heart and lung disease.

Khush’s research examines Cardiac Allograft Vasculopathy (CAV), the leading cause of long-term graft failure after heart transplantation. It arises when the blood vessels supplying the transplanted heart gradually narrow and restrict its blood flow, subsequently leading to impairment of the heart muscle or sudden death. CAV impacts about half of all heart recipients within 10 years after transplant.

“CAV is currently the leading cause of long-term graft failure and death after heart transplantation, and unfortunately there are very few treatment options for this deadly complication. Our team aims to identify new therapies that will be effective in preventing CAV, will therefore improve length and quality of life after heart transplantation for children and adults alike,” said Khush.

Khush’s research shows that a pathway involved in development of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) may also be implicated in development of CAV. Patients with PAH produce high levels of leukotriene B4-an inflammatory mediator that causes thickening of the blood vessel wall. Khush’s research shows this same leukotriene is also produced in the coronary arteries of heart transplant patients who develop CAV. Preliminary research in the lab suggests that a well-tolerated drug, called ubenimex (Bestatin), can prevent CAV in animal models – and therefore may be effective in preventing CAV after human heart transplantation.


The International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation is a not-for-profit, multidisciplinary professional organization dedicated to improving the care of patients with advanced heart or lung disease through transplantation, mechanical support and innovative therapies. With more than 3,800 members in more than 45 countries, ISHLT is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the research, education and advocacy of end-stage heart and lung disease. ISHLT members represent more than 15 different professional disciplines. For more information, visit

About Enduring Hearts
Since inception in 2014, Enduring Hearts has funded approximately $4 million in research grants aimed at helping children with end-stage heart failure not only live longer lives, but also improve the quality of life for transplant recipients. Enduring Hearts partners with top research institutions across North America seeking out the most innovative and promising research to unlock the key to transplant longevity and improved quality of life for children with heart transplants.

Additionally, Enduring Hearts’ Road to Recovery Gas Card Program, offered at transplant centers across the US, helps to mitigate the high cost of travel for pediatric heart transplant families while their child is being cared for at a hospital. Families enrolled in this program are eligible for up to one year of free gas cards. In addition to providing the gas cards, Enduring Hearts supplies these families with research updates in layman’s terms to help them understand current and emerging transplant trends.