Organs and Tissues

Raising awareness for living organ donation


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

This #givingtuesday — November 27, 2018 — organizations across the country are raising awareness about living donation. 

Did you know that more than 3,000 Canadians are on a waiting list for kidney transplantation?

When the kidneys are no longer able to remove waste products from the blood, either dialysis (artificial filtering of blood) or a transplant is required for survival. Dialysis alone can lead to health complications and severely impact quality of life.

A transplant is the preferred treatment for most patients suffering from kidney failure, yet there are not enough deceased kidney donors to help every patient in need. Living kidney donations offer patients a higher chance of receiving a transplant.

Kidney transplantation is life-saving and life-altering. Until we can clone or grow or print kidneys (who knows what the future holds), there will continue to be a need for kidney transplants. Transplantation through living donation has the potential to remove many people from dialysis and the transplant waitlists and alter the lives of not just the patients, but their families as well.”
– Kathy Yetzer, Associate Director, Living Donation, Canadian Blood Services.

Potential donors can help someone they know who needs a kidney transplant, or they can donate anonymously to help someone in need of a kidney on a waitlist somewhere in Canada. Patients with end stage kidney disease often wait many years for a kidney transplant from a deceased donor. Having a living kidney donor may decrease this wait time for the patient.

Learn more about living kidney donation.

 

What is Kidney Paired Donation?

The Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) program is a national program operated by Canadian Blood Services in collaboration with Canada’s living kidney donation and kidney transplant programs. Learn more about how KPD chains work:

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kidney donor domino effect 
Kidney Paired Donation Domino Effect

Transplantation is a kidney replacement therapy alternative to dialysis for patients who are eligible. It provides the best long-term outcome and a better quality of life than dialysis, and although recipients require life-long medications to prevent transplant rejection, patients no longer have diet and fluid restrictions and do not need to stay close to a dialysis centre at all times. But, there are not enough deceased donors in Canada to provide a kidney transplant for everyone on the waitlists.  Therefore, living donation is another incredibly important option for patients, especially since a kidney transplant from a living donor lasts longer and does better, on average, than a kidney from a deceased donor.

Even when a patient finds someone who is willing to donate a kidney to them, they are often not a blood group and tissue type match, so the transplant cannot occur. This is where Canadian Blood Services' Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) program can help some of these patients to find a medically suitable living kidney donor. These incompatible donors and transplant candidates enroll as incompatible pairs in the KPD program through the Canadian Transplant Registry  and we use a sophisticated matching algorithm to find situations where the donor in the pair can give to someone with whom they are compatible and another donor can give to the transplant candidate of the pair.

How do I become a live organ donor?

Start by contacting the kidney or live liver transplant centres in your province. You will need to undergo mandatory medical examinations and tests to determine if it is safe for you to become a live donor. These tests will also determine if you are an appropriate match for your intended recipient.

 

 

Help spread the word about living donation on social media by sharing the following message:

Did you know that more than 3,000 Canadians are on a waiting list for kidney transplantation. Find out how you can become someone’s hero through #livingdonation at blood.ca/organs-tissues @CanadasLifeLine #OrgansandTissuesForLife

Learn more about living donation on blood.ca/organs-tissues

 


Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.

Unleash your inner writer – Enter our first-ever lay science writing competition


Thursday, November 15, 2018

Use plain language to tell the story of your research in blood, plasma, stem cells or organs & tissues.

Call for submissions – Deadline: January 18, 2019

Theme: Research that matters!

We’re excited to announce the launch of Canadian Blood Services’ first-ever Lay Science Writing Competition. We’ve connected with key partners in the science writing and research communities (Science Borealis and the Centre for Blood Research) to host a competition that will put your plain language writing skills to the test. 

Submissions are open to members of the Canadian Blood Services extended research trainee network including graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and research associates directly or indirectly supported by Canadian Blood Services.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to showcase to the public your research in the domain of blood, plasma, stem cells, or organs and tissues and take an exciting new step in the development of your vital communication skills…. Not to mention the opportunity to win a prize and get published. 

This year’s Competition theme is “Research that matters!”. Your entry must describe the impact of your (your lab’s) research on the transfusion and transplantation system and/or on our society. The work must be original, in English, and not previously published. Length of submission must not exceed 800 words. 

Canadian Blood Services will convene a jury to review and rank the submissions. Submissions will be judged on their writing and storytelling merits.

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lay science writing competition poster 2018

The winning writer will receive a $300 prize and the two runners-up will each receive a $100 prize. Selected entries will be disseminated through the Canadian Blood Services, Science Borealis and the Centre for Blood Research online platforms and social media channels.

Good luck!!

Find out more about the competition and download the competition guidelines

If you have questions, contact the Centre for Innovation by email at centreforinnovation@blood.ca 

Presented in partnership with the Centre for Blood Research and Science Borealis. 


Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.

 

Critical Care Canada Forum 2018


Tuesday, November 06, 2018

The Critical Care Canada Forum (CCCF) takes place this week in Toronto. The annual event is attended by hundreds of health professionals working in critical care, primarily physicians.  A key event within the Forum is an unopposed plenary on brain death determination, to be held on Wednesday, November 7th.

I had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Sam Shemie, Canadian Blood Services’ medical advisor for deceased donation, about this important plenary session, as well as the World Brain Death Project, and the launch of a new professional education resource on neurological determination of death.

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CCCF 2018

Why is brain death the focus of this CCCF plenary session and why is it an important subject for the critical care community right now?

A bit of context… Before the 1960s, and the introduction of technical advances like artificial breathing machines, diagnosis of death was clear. Back then, if the brain stopped functioning, the body would stop receiving the signal to breathe and eventually the heart would stop.  The ability to replace breathing with a machine and prevent cardiac arrest was a great advance in the effort to save lives. For the brain injured patient, replacing breathing allowed doctors to try to understand the brain injury and to potentially reverse or improve the cause of that brain injury.

This advance also led to a certain type of patient that was never seen before: a patient with a brain injury who, despite all effort, had deteriorated to a state of complete and irreversible loss of all function of the brain.

What we now call brain death is death determined by brain-based criteria. These criteria are the loss of capacity for consciousness, the absence of brain stem reflexes, and the absence of the ability to breathe. (Severe brain injury to neurological determination of death: Canadian forum recommendations. CMAJ 2006 Mar 14)

The term “absence of capacity for consciousness” is a bit difficult for people to understand. What it means is that all functions of the brain have completely stopped and will never resume. Thinking, planning, moving, feeling, seeing, hearing, smelling — no ability to interact with environment, etc. There is no brain function. However, if one artificially replaces breathing, the organs of the body will continue to function.

Brain death is accepted medical practice in most countries of the world, including Canada,  yet recent legal cases in the US and now in Canada where families have challenged the diagnosis of Brain Death on religious grounds.  This ongoing legal challenge to the acceptance of Brain Death as death is concerning to the Critical Care community.  Throughout the legal challenge process, the body of the individual who has been declared brain dead continues to be supported by machines. However, this is the complete cessation of all brain function and there is no returning from the state.

Of course, the topic of death determination is of concern to the Critical Care community. These professionals are the ones who are most likely to work with patients with devastating brain injury who can deteriorate to brain death. To better understand the issues surrounding medical and legal determination of death, the Critical Care Canada Forum (CCCF) is hosting an unopposed plenary session on Nov. 7th to allow for medical, legal and ethical discussion of brain death.

The plenary session is unopposed — which means no other sessions will take place at the same time so all delegates can attend. It will involve 90 minutes of expert presentations from the medical, legal, ethical and international perspectives, followed by a 30-minute Q&A period.

Plenary Session: Threats to the Concept of Brain Death

  • B Kavanagh Case Presentation
  • A Joffe – Medical: Death is Not Brain-Based
  • S Shemie – Medical: Death is Brain-Based
  • H Scher  Legal Uncertainty
  • D Jarvis  Legal Coherence
  • R Sibbald  Ethical Reflections
  • D Greer International Perspectives on Threats to Brain Death
  • Panel Discussion and Audience Questions

Read more in the CCCF program

What is the World Brain Death Project?

Brain death is accepted medical practice in most countries, though there may be variations in practice and understanding. The World Brain Death Project is an international collaboration of medical experts, professional societies and organizations that manage patients with devastating brain injuries leading to brain death.  These professionals include world societies of Intensive Care (adult and pediatric), Neurocritical care, Neurology and Neurosurgery.  This collaboration aims to develop an international minimum standard of practice to enhance the current medical and legal standing for the brain-based determination of  death or as it is also called, death by neurological criteria. The goal is the harmonization of international practices to address the inconsistencies among practice in countries and between countries and identify gaps in knowledge that can be addressed by research.

The project is led by representatives from Canadian Blood Services including myself and Sylvia Torrance along with leading experts in neurocritical care including Gene Sung from UCLA ,Ariane Lewis (New York Univeristy) and David Greer )Boston Univeristy).

You are also involved in the development of a new professional resource related to Neurological Determination of Death (NDD), can you tell me more about that?

Canadian Blood Services’ work in organ and tissue donation and transplantation includes supporting the development of leading practice and increasing opportunities for professional development and education. Historically, there has been no national curriculum to train specialists in organ donation. This project is changing that.

Ken Lotherington (Canadian Blood Services) and Jennifer Hancock (Dalhousie University) along with Pierre Cardinal and Aimee Sarti (The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute) are developing an online e-learning platform for various aspects of deceased organ donation. This ongoing, multi-year initiative will release two new national curriculum modules this year. The first module NDD/brain death is intended to be used as part of the required training for critical care residents and fellows. The teaching of NDD in Canada will be harmonized with existing leading practice and be available as a learning and teaching tool to train people -- enhancing the rigour of the determination of death to make sure there are no diagnostic errors is key.

Module 1: Canadian Clinical Guide to Organ Donation to launch

At CCCF 2018 members of our deceased donation team will be on hand to launch and demo the first module of the Canadian Clinical Guide to Organ Donation – an online e-learning curriculum that is Royal College accredited. Professionals will be able to register for the first module “Neurological Determination of Death”.

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Canadian Clinical Guide to Organ Donation

Module 1 learning objectives:
  • Discuss normal CNS pathology and the pathophysiology leading to neurological death.
  • Describe physician standards required for declaration of neurological death.
  • Describe how to perform declaration of neurological death.
  • Discuss confounding factors that preclude a clinical diagnosis of neurological death.
  • Discuss the different acceptable ancillary tests for neurological determination of death.
  • Explain some common confusing exam findings in a patient who has been pronounced neurologically dead (spinal reflexes, ventilator auto-triggering, etc).

If you’re attending CCCF 2018, visit Canadian Blood Services’ booth to learn more and to register for this new professional education resource. 

For more professional education resources visit blood.ca/profedu

 


Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.

 

Highlights from the Transplant Summit 2018


Friday, November 02, 2018

Health professionals, patients, and policy makers gathered in Ottawa to discuss the future of transplantation in Canada at the Canadian Transplant Summit 2018 — October 16-20, 2018.

The Canadian Society of Transplantation, Canadian Blood Services, the Canadian Donation and Transplantation Research Program (formerly CNTRP) and Canadian Bone Marrow Transplant Group worked together to develop a robust and comprehensive scientific program.  Over the course of five jam-packed days the community shared knowledge, learned from one another and talked all sides of system improvement. The Summit opened with a welcome from of all four hosting partners the Opening Plenary.

An exciting aspect of the Transplant Summit was the inclusion of patient partners in the scientific program. The perspectives of donors, patients and their families is so important in conversations about improving the system, outcomes and experiences.

 

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Heather Badenoch

The Opening Plenary was a highlight and an eye-opener. Titled: “Arrested Development in Canadian HealthCare: Against the Odds Donation and Transplantation has created systemic changes that are working. Removing systemic obstacles going forward is essential,” the session was moderated by Sean Delaney, associate director, listing and allocation, Canadian Blood Services. The keynote speakers included the Globe and Mail’s health columnist, André Picard and Jennifer Woolfsmith, the mother of an organ donor.

 
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Sandra Holdsworth - twitter

André Picard shared his in-depth knowledge of the health system in his talk titled “Reforming medicare: Obstacles and Opportunities” and we had the great privilege of hearing from Jennifer Woolfsmith. Jennifer brought the donor family perspective to light. Six-and-a-half years ago Jennifer’s 22-month-old daughter Mackenzy suffered a catastrophic injury and became an organ donor.

Since then, Jennifer has continued to share her story to help reframe the discussion around organ donation, to honour Mackenzy’s life and that maternal bond that never goes away, and to ensure families know that organ donation is an option. She challenged those in health care not to be afraid to approach and to ask a family about donation. Explaining that while it doesn’t ease the grief of losing a child, it provides hope.

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Jennifer Woolfsmith (2016)

In November 2017, the Canadian Guidelines for Controlled Pediatric Donation after Circulatory Determination of Death (pDCD) were published. Jennifer Woolfsmith brought the patient family perspective to the table by reviewing these leading practice guidelines, providing valuable insight from a parents’ point of view.

“Knowing my daughter continues to impact the world through donation brings me so much comfort. So, it truly was my honour to contribute by reviewing these guidelines with the hope of giving other parents this option to bring purpose and meaning to the experience of losing their child.”

Dr. Sam Shemie, Medical Director, moderated a session titled deceased donation: safely expanding the donor pool, and provided an update on an expert forum held earlier in the week on establishing a medical, ethical and legal framework for heart donation after circulatory death. The session included an international perspective from Dr. Gavin Pettigrew, University of Cambridge and a personal story of the patient perspective shared by Thomas Shing who was one of the first recipients of a heart through DCD donation in the United Kingdom.

 

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Dr. Shemie sharing the future perspectives of DCD heart transplantation in Canada

 

On top of many informative sessions, the Summit created opportunities for face-to-face problem solving. For instance, Canadian Blood Services brought together a meeting of the kidney surgical subcommittee to work on issues and barriers for living donation. In addition:

  • our Organ Listing and Allocation Team presented and participated in four different annual meetings of the individual organ professional societies (Lung, Liver, Kidney, and HLA), which included discussions about future workplan priorities in organ sharing, optimizing organ allocation, and the future for performance measurement and data in Canada. 
  • the Living Donation team hosted a meeting of kidney surgeons in the morning, and then supported our Dr. Michel Paquet, our medical advisor for renal transplant with talking to the very large CST Kidney Working Group about the future of the Kidney Paired Donation Program and emerging opportunities in allocation.
  • Sean Delaney also co-moderated a plenary session on opportunities for optimizing living donation in Canada, with two key speakers who are Canadian leaders in this topic (Dr. Amit Garg of London, ON and Dr. David Landsberg of Vancouver, BC).
  • Kathy Yetzer, associate director, living donation and transplantation, provided an update on Canadian Blood Services’ overall progress in Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation to a Saturday plenary, which included walking the participants through Canadian Blood Services' renewed brand,  as well as announcing our nearly finalized work on the establishment of a deceased donation training module that for critical care residents. 

All in all, the Summit was a truly collaborative and enlightening week with many great steps forward in improving transplantation in Canada.  The tireless work of the planning committee with representatives from all four partner hosting partners must be commended.

Visit the Canadian Society of Transplantation to  learn more about the 2018 Summit and planning for 2019.

 

Next up... the Canadian Critical Care Forum, November 6-9 in Toronto.


Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.

 

Funding opportunities currently open


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Canadian Blood Services' Centre for Innovation currently has four competitive funding competitions open for applications. All close on November 30, 2018. Read on to see if you or any of your colleagues or students are eligible for these exciting opportunities!

Canadian Blood Services' Graduate Fellowship Program

The Graduate Fellowship Program provides stipend support for young investigators who want to initiate or continue training in the field of blood transfusion and transplantation science. The maximum value of each fellowship is $25,000 per annum, with an additional travel allowance of $1,000 per year. Students may be supported for up to four years. Graduate students undertaking full-time research training in a Canadian institution are eligible to apply.

Learn more about the Canadian Blood Services Graduate Fellowship Program:
Graduate Fellowship Program: Fostering the future of transfusion science research

BloodTechNet Award Program

BloodTechNet seeks to support your bright idea! Funding is available for projects that deliver innovative educational tools and resources to support the development of skills, knowledge and expertise of health professionals in the transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation communities in Canada. Applicants must be a health professional belonging to the transfusion, cellular therapy and/or transplantation communities in Canada.

Learn more about current and previously funded projects through this Program:

James Kreppner Award

This award supports research into the legal and regulatory aspects of donation, collection, storage, and use of blood, blood products, and hematopoietic stem cells; and organ and tissue donation and transplantation. The award honours James Kreppner, a lawyer and patients’ rights advocate, who was committed to blood safety and contributed greatly to Canada’s blood system. Applicants must be a Canadian legal researcher affiliated with a Canadian academic program as a faculty member.

Learn more about previous recipients:

Kenneth J. Fyke Award

This award supports health services and policy research to promote the development of evidence-based Canadian practices and policies in blood transfusion, blood stem cell transplantation, and organ and tissue transplantation for the benefit of Canadian patients. This award honours Kenneth J Fyke, one of Canada’s healthcare leaders and a world authority on healthcare management. Applicants must be Canadian researchers affiliated with a Canadian academic program related to health services or health policy or transfusion medicine, stem cell transplantation, or organ and tissue donation and transplantation medicine.

Learn more about previous recipients: A Q & A with Dr. David Allan


Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.

 

Meet the Director: Dr. Chantale Pambrun


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Get to know Dr. Chantale Pambrun, Director, Canadian Blood Services’ Centre for Innovation

Previously led by Judie Leach Bennett, who  joined the executive management team as Vice-President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Dr. Chantale Pambrun took over as Director of the Centre for Innovation in December 2017. She was formerly associate director, donor and clinical services and, prior to joining us at Canadian Blood Services, she was the Medical Director of Hematopathology at a tertiary health care centre for women and children in Halifax, NS.

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Dr. Chantale Pambrun

To get to know Dr. Pambrun better, we asked her a few questions…

Tell us a little about yourself… Who are you? Where are you from?

Canada has always been my home. My husband, two children and I have lived in many cities from coast to coast. Our nomad-like existence has made us adaptable and open to new experiences. Much of what drives me in my life and in my career is related to being a positive role model to my children. Each and every day, I strive to contribute to the best of my ability, so that I may inspire them to do the same.

How long have you been with Canadian Blood Services?

I first started with Canadian Blood Services in 2016 as a medical consultant working with Dr. Mindy Goldman in Donor and Clinical Services, which later expanded into an associate medical director role with responsibilities in donor eligibility and the national immunohematology reference laboratory. Donor health is an issue I consider very important in our work and I continue to support work in this area.

Read more: Dr. Pambrun on donor health

 

Tell us about your role with the Centre for Innovation…

In my role as Director of the Centre for Innovation, I work with a team of approximately 80 individuals who each hold a unique set of skills. Collectively the group helps Canadian Blood Services prepare for the future of transfusion and transplantation medicine, all for the benefit of donors and patients. Broadly the group works on discovery research related, applied development, knowledge mobilization and education, as well as health policy and leading practice.

As director, I’m responsible for making sure the team has what they need to succeed. I am very keen on fostering collaboration within our group, across the organization and beyond to the broader science and healthcare community.

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discovery research on display during ISBT 2018

 

Before working at Canadian Blood Services, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had? 

Once upon a time, I worked at the Chrysler minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario. I spent all day installing van doors – the same tedious task, day after day. That experience taught me that I was not built for an assembly line job. I prefer the challenge of a day that has at least a few surprises and puzzles to solve.

What drew you to Canadian Blood Services originally? 

I was drawn to the organization because it provided an opportunity to do meaningful work in a field with many diverse stakeholders. I knew early on that I wouldn’t run out of things to do and that no day would ever be dull…

What do you like most about your job?

The people, the passion, and the cause. I love the diversity of what the Centre for Innovation does and what the group is able to achieve when we work together.

What do you find most exciting about your work?

I enjoy uncovering the untapped opportunities; seeing the team flourish in their day-to-day work; and challenging the status quo.

Read more: Searching for safer red blood cell bags for pediatric patients

What/who inspires you?

I am inspired by people who do what’s right, who are authentic, who are passionate and who engage those around them. 

When you’re not at work, where could we find you?

I most enjoy relaxing with my family, doing the simple things and enjoying life.

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us... 

I’m a cowgirl at heart. I’ve always loved the great outdoors and love riding horses. After medical school I went on a cattle drive with my father in Montana… it was a long-time dream of ours. The simplicity of this life and the big open spaces is something I long for.

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Dr. Chantale Pambrun - leisure

Three words that best describe you:

Enthusiastic, pragmatic, and optimistic. I always try to come to any table with an open mind and try to put a positive spin on whatever the challenge…

You’re happiest when? 

When I am true to myself.

Learn more about Canadian Blood Services' Centre for Innovation and ongoing research and education initiatives


Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.

 

Do you suffer from FOMO?


Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Do you suffer from FOMO? Fear of missing out! Fear no more, the event page on Canadian Blood Services' professional education website has you covered!

This is your one-stop shop to learn more about local, national and international education events covering blood, plasma and transfusion, organ and tissue donation and transplantation, as well as hematopoietic stem cells. Here you’ll find a searchable and easy-to-view calendar of conferences, lectures, courses and more.

Check it out! Be THAT person – the one who never misses an abstract deadline or early bird registration rate!

And - to event planners and those in the know - please let us know if we are the ones missing out! If you would like YOUR event displayed on our calendar, please contact us

 

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Left to right: Drs. William Sheffield, Jeff Keirnan, and Mia Golder. Photo credit: CSTM 2017 photo gallery.
CSTM annual meeting

 

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poster session ISBT
ISBT 2018 poster session

 

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CBR event
Centre for Blood Research event (photo courtesy of CBR)

Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.

 

Dr. Peter Nickerson awarded Kidney Foundation Medal for Research Excellence


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

On May 5th, the Kidney Foundation of Canada announced that Dr. Peter Nickerson is the winner of their 2018 Medal for Research Excellence. A well deserved honour indeed. We're proud to congratulate Dr. Nickerson on this award. 

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Dr. Nickerson is widely recognized for his role in building a national transplant network for hard-to-match kidney patients. As medical advisor with Canadian Blood Services’ Donation and Transplantation program, he was instrumental in developing national kidney programs such as the Highly Sensitized Patient (HSP) program that is giving new hope to Canadians who previously had very little opportunity for a kidney transplant, saving lives and impacting hundreds of patients and families. Of the more than 2,200 patients who are waiting for a kidney transplant in Canada today, almost 500 are highly sensitized, and therefore likely to reject more than 95 per cent of potential donor organs. Historically, these patients have waited much longer for suitable organs, spent more time on dialysis, or died before a suitable organ match could be found.

“With Dr. Nickerson’s leadership and collaboration with the team at Canadian Blood Services in launching the Highly Sensitized Patient Kidney program, health systems are now sharing kidneys across the country for one purpose: to find more Canadian patients a kidney, sooner,” said Dr. Graham Sher, CEO, Canadian Blood Services. 

“This program has enabled transplants for more than 400 sensitized patients, some of whom waited decades on dialysis,” added Amber Appleby, interim director, donation and transplantation, Canadian Blood Services.

National kidney programs at Canadian Blood Services recently celebrated at milestone: 1000 kidney transplants that otherwise would not have happened

Dr. Nickerson is a Distinguished Professor of Internal Medicine and Immunology at the Max Rady College of Medicine, University of Manitoba, and Vice Dean (Research) in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences. He holds a number of other senior positions in addition to the abovementioned, including Medical Director of Transplant Manitoba, Medical Advisor with Canadian Blood Services, Medical Consultant, Transplant Immunology Laboratory, at Shared Health and the Flynn Family Chair in Renal Transplant at the University of Manitoba. His research interests include transplant immunology, non-invasive diagnostics monitoring immune activation, and health policy and system design.

Dr. Nickerson and his research team are developing non-invasive diagnostic tools (urine chemokine measurements) that are now in the final validation stages for use as diagnostic and prognostic markers. The researchers have also been recognized for their work identifying the role of HLA antibodies in causing premature kidney graft loss. Currently, the team’s research has been at the forefront of HLA molecular mismatch assessment, which is setting the stage for precision and personalized medicine in kidney transplantation.

Read more about Dr. Nickerson's important contributions to kidney donation and transplantion. 

 


Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration.

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.

1,000 kidney transplants for Canadian patients!


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

April 22-28 is National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week. Green ribbons, and green-lit landmarks, will pop up across Canada this week to acknowledge and honour the donors and donor families who gave the gift of life. They also acknowledge the thousands of patients in need of a transplant and those who have died waiting. Canadians are reminded to register their intent to donate and to discuss their wishes with family and friends. Canadians can visit organtissuedonation.ca to find out how to become an organ donor.  

Today, we’re celebrating the 1000th kidney transplant made possible through the national Highly Sensitized Patient and Kidney Paired Donation programs. Congratulations Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation community! Your collaboration in creating these national programs demonstrates that Canadian patients benefit when we work together.

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The Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) program – launched in 2009 – is a perfect example of how interprovincial health systems work together to forge success beyond provincial borders and improve access to transplants for patients.

The success of this program can be attributed to the selflessness of those who have stepped forward to be living organ donors. Kudos to the truly altruistic non-directed anonymous donors (willing, living donors without a specific intended recipient) who make domino kidney exchanges possible.

The Highly Sensitized Patient (HSP) program is a national organ sharing program operated by Canadian Blood Services in collaboration with all provincial donation and transplant programs. The program gives provincial transplant programs access to a larger national pool of kidney donors for highly sensitized patients who need a more specific donor match.

The implementation of HSP across Canada began in October 2013 and by November 2014, all provinces and territories had joined the HSP program. The provincial and territorial Ministries of Health and provincial organ donation organizations worked together to implement the HSP program.

KPD and HSP are operated as part of the Canadian Transplant Registry, a national web-based computer program operated by Canadian Blood Services and used for linking the national potential recipient waitlist with actual organ donors.

 

What is the Kidney Paired Donation program?

The Kidney Paired Donation program is a living donation program that finds and facilitates medically compatible kidney transplants through chains of donor exchanges from medically incompatible pairs. 

How did the Kidney Paired Donation program come to be?

Often individuals are unable to donate to someone they know because testing has determined that they are not medically compatible with the transplant candidate, and the kidney would therefore be rejected.

In 2009, Canadian Blood Services, in collaboration with transplant programs across the country, established a Kidney Paired Donation program for Canada.

Working in collaboration with the provincial living donation programs, the KPD program serves patients who have a willing living donor with whom they are not medically compatible by finding another pair with whom they can swap donors so both patients receive a transplant.

How does the Kidney Paired Donation Program work?

The registry contains medical information about incompatible pairs of donors and transplant candidates from across Canada and identifies pairs that might be able to exchange kidneys. From there, it’s a matter of finding a suitable exchange and creating “chains” of matching donors and recipients. There are different types of donor and recipient chains: some are straightforward swaps (called a “paired exchange”), some involve multiple donor–candidate pairs (called a “closed chain”), and some include a nondirected anonymous donor and a person on the waitlist (called a “domino chain”).

Kidney Paired Donation - how it works

The program is supported by a sophisticated web-based software to optimize the number of donors and transplant candidates matched through the Kidney Paired Donation program.

A matching algorithm is run three times a year to compare the medical information on all the pairs and non-directed donors in the Registry and identifies kidney transplant opportunities.

What does the Kidney Paired Donation program do for patients?

Kidney transplantation is the preferred therapy for patients with kidney failure. Compared with dialysis, transplantation offers significantly longer life expectancy, a better quality of life, considerable cost avoidance per patient to the health care system, and an increased likelihood that the patient will remain employed.

Transplantation of a kidney from a living donor is advantageous to the recipient.The kidney lasts, on average, 25 per cent longer compared to a deceased donor kidney.

The added benefit to this approach is that patients transplanted through kidney paired donation are not added to the waitlist and this then shortens the waitlist and wait time for those patients who are dependent on receiving a deceased donor transplant.

The Kidney Paired Donation program significantly expands access to potential donors for all Canadians with an incompatible donor; every patient who receives a living donor transplant comes off the deceased donor waitlist and thereby decreases the demand on the waitlist for others.

Who can become a living kidney donor?

Any adult who is in general good health can be assessed to become a living kidney donor. If the donor wishes to donate to a friend or family member (a transplant candidate), medical assessments are conducted to determine whether the donor is a suitable match for the recipient. With a compatible match, the directed donation can proceed through the provincial program.

If the donor is not a match for their friend or family member, they may be able to help the transplant candidate find a matching donor through the Kidney Paired Donation program.

What does being highly sensitized mean?

It means that the patients have a sensitized immune system. Immune system sensitization may be a result of blood transfusions, previous transplants or pregnancies, which is why many highly sensitized patients are women. As a result, patients who are “highly sensitized” are at higher risk of rejecting an organ transplant. This makes it very difficult to find a suitable donor match.

How does the program help sensitized patients?

The HSP program makes it more likely that people who need a kidney transplant, and are hard to match, will find one. The program uses sophisticated technology to match the right kidney to the right patient anywhere in Canada with accuracy and efficiency.

An organ matched through the HSP program reduces the risk of potential rejection. This means highly sensitized patients have improved chances that:

  • their body will accept the new organ;
  • the organ will last longer; and
  • they will not end up back on a waitlist.  

The collaboration with provincial testing laboratories is part of the national advisory structure organized by Canadian Blood Services, unique to Canada and is foundational to the success of the program. 

Why was the HSP program developed?

Approximately 20 per cent of patients on provincial waitlists are highly sensitized and in need of a kidney transplant. Yet, these same patients historically receive less than one per cent of available organs. With access to a limited number of donors in their home province, highly sensitized patients wait much longer for a kidney transplant and have a greater chance of becoming more ill or dying while they wait. By providing access to donors across the country, the HSP program increases the chances of finding kidney transplants for these hard-to-match patients. 

Quick Facts

  • The HSP program is for patients needing very specific matches from deceased kidney donors. Through the HSP Program, this group of patients now has access to a larger national donor pool, dramatically increasing the chance of a match.
  • Women are disproportionately highly sensitized due to antibodies developed during pregnancy.
  • More than 4,500 people are waiting for organ transplants in Canada today; however, only a fraction of Canadians are registered to donate. While many Canadians are aware of the need for organ transplants, there remains a shortage of donors.
Further reading

 

Learn more about organ and tissue donation and register your intent to donate, visit organtissuedonation.ca

Celebrating 30 years of memories thanks to an organ donor


Monday, April 23, 2018

 April 22-28 marks National Organ and Tissue Donation Week in Canada — a week dedicated to raising awareness about the critical needs of patients across the country.

 

Thirty years ago, Crystal Prowse of St John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador, was an 11-year-old waiting for a heart transplant. And 30 years ago, thanks to the generosity of a donor and their family, Crystal’s life changed forever.

"I have so many things to be grateful for and so many stars that lined up for me to have a transplant. It's actually quite amazing to me."

In celebration of those 30 years, Crystal's goal is to get the message out.

"I recognize that people are uncomfortable having the conversation about organ donation, but it's a conversation that needs to be had."

She knows first-hand how great the need. At age 11, she found out that to fix her sick heart the only option was transplant. She was assessed at University Hospital in London, Ontario and later moved there to wait and hope for a transplant. She and her family waited for four months for that life-saving call letting them know that a donor organ had become available.

When you're a child waiting for a transplant, everything is big and scary.

"All I wanted was to go home and play with my friends," says Crystal. "Even though I was afraid, I was looking past it to the point where I could get home and back to my life. The hope of getting back to life is what you hang on to."

At the time Crystal was the youngest heart transplant recipient in Newfoundland, and she believes she may well have been the very first heart transplant patient from the Janeway Children's Hospital in St. John's.

“When I was a kid and I was sick, my mother used to joke that when I got better I was going to have a baby brother or sister," explained Crystal. "Ten months after my transplant my baby brother was born. So, he was like my little reward. And, now, 30 years later he just had a little baby of his own! Now I have a little niece who is the light of my life."

Crystal has a collection of wonderful memories, every memory made possible because of her transplant.

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Top row, left to right: Crystal in hospital about one year before transplant; Crystal with members of her care team a few days post transplant; Crystal with her mom a few months post transplant. Bottom row, left to right: Crystal and her family a year post transplant; Crystal and her husband on their wedding day; Crystal, her brother and her brand new baby niece.

 

Academically, she’s excelled, acquiring several degrees. She has a rewarding career as a respiratory therapist, a role that sometimes allows her to work with transplant patients. She fell in love and was able to get married with all of her family around her.

And, she's become part of a caring and supportive community through transplant. A community of people who understand the magnitude of organ donation and the human connection that goes with it.

"My pediatric cardiologist and my cardiac surgeon were both at my wedding," says Crystal. "My cardiologist's wife made my wedding dress. It's like we have our own little transplant family."

Crystal has had a remarkable life and is continuing to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation, hoping her efforts will help the many people who are still waiting and needing a transplant.

She's living proof of the power of organ donation, and hopes to inspire others to lend support for national efforts like National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week and programs that help bring access to transplant for patients where ever they happen to live.

"Organ donation is such a selfless gift and to be around people who appreciate that...  it's pretty amazing."

Thirty years of memories, thanks to one organ donor... pretty amazing indeed.

 

Over 4,500 Canadians are currently in need of an organ transplant and, every year, more than 250 people die waiting. this week is all about making sure you’ve registered your decision and having that important conversation with friends and loved ones to ensure that your organ donation wishes and decisions are understood.

Canadians are encouraged to register / confirm their intent to donate at organtissuedonation.ca

 


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Organ donation organizations across Canada and Canadian Blood Services are working together this week to inspire Canadians to register their intent to donate and talk to their families about their decision.

Green ribbons, or green lit landmarks (April 25th is National Green Light Day), will pop up across Canada this week to acknowledge and honour the donors and donor families who gave the gift of life. They also acknowledge the thousands of patients in need of a transplant and those who have died waiting. Read more

Simple ways to help:

  • Register your decision to donate at organtissuedonaton.ca
  • Talk to your family about your decision to donate and ask them about their wishes.
  • Add a NOTDAW frame to your Facebook profile 
  • Join the online conversation and encourage others to register — here’s a simple message to get you started: “Talk to your family about organ and tissue donation, make sure they know your decision. #GiveLife #NOTDAW”

Find out more about National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week here

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