In April, Ottawa made a $13.8 million announcement that could prove to be the game changer for transplant research in this country. The Canadian National Transplant Research Program http://www.cntrp.ca/ brings together more than 100 investigators from nine provinces, the brightest minds in all aspects of the field. From the ethics of dying to cell regenration, these scientists and clinicians are working towards the common goal – how can we make transplant a cure?
The CNTRP consists of six main areas of research:
– increase the availability of transplants
– exend the life of these transplanted organs
– improve long-term survival and quality of life of transplant patients
– develop and enhance the pool of transplant researchers and clinicians
– integrate and coordinate transplantation research nationwide
Transplant research is a priority for the federal government. What’s most exciting about this initiative is the collaboration between so many disciplines, something that hasn’t been normal practice in the world of research.
Last year more than 1900 Canadians received a life-saving transplant, yet 3400 people were on the wait list. Some just couldn’t hang on long enough. 161 people died. Five of them were children. Right now, 507 British Columbians are waiting, most of them need kidneys.
Short-term survival of all transplant patients is excellent – between 80 to 95% of patients are doing well one year post transplant. However, long term success is still an elusive goal. While kidney transplants seem to do better, 10 year survival for heart transplant patients is around 50-60%. Lung transplants are about 30%.
As medicine gets better at treating complex conditions, the need for transplants is only expected to increase. There are currently 3594 transplant recipients in our province, all of them facing the same potential risks and complications.
The Transplant Research Foundation of BC is one of the only organizations in the country dedicated to raising funds for transplant research. It is hosting a free public event on Monday, December 2. The “Breakfast with Champions” gives participants a chance to speak with researchers and hear about the newest discoveries. http://www.trfbc.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Breakfast_With_Champions