The Cleveland Clinic recently received a 3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop an improved risk-modeling approach to help prioritize patients with advanced lung diseases for lung transplant.

The research is headed by Director of Lung Transplant Outcomes Maryam Valapour, MD, MPP, and a multidisciplinary team of researchers.

With the award from the NIH, the team will work to develop a more dynamic system using microsimulations, a method that was not available when the LAS was first developed.

This new system will incorporate day-to-day changes in candidates’ pulmonary, cardiac and renal clinical measures, among others, and determine how their interactions impact a patient’s risk of mortality prior to and after transplant. The system also will account for interactions between patients’ race/ethnicity and neighborhood socioeconomic factors that may impact their survival — factors that are currently not part of the LAS.

This group of researchers will work to simulate different donor lung allocation strategies to better understand how patient- and population-level outcomes will be impacted in this new system. The team includes a transplant epidemiologist, statisticians, health economists and public policy experts and will involve collaboration with the U.S. Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR), the scientific arm of the U.S. transplant system funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration. Valapour serves as Senior Lung Transplant Investigator of SRTR and as a scientific advisor to U.S. lung transplant policymakers.

“Our goal is to work across disciplines to bring the best and brightest minds to advance lung transplantation,” says Valapour. “We are hopeful that this research will improve the survival of patients as they await transplant and beyond.”