Our Approaches

Knowledge Synthesis: Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses

There are many types of knowledge synthesis methods, but in the context of the Blueprint group, we are primarily focused on systematic reviews with/without meta-analysis and scoping reviews. Along with clinical studies, we are also very interested in the emerging area of ‘preclinical’ systematic reviews of laboratory-based studies.

Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses

  • Risks and benefits of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy in cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PMID 30948292
  • Safety and efficacy of adult stem cell therapy for acute myocardial infarction and ischemic heart failure (SafeCell Heart): a systematic review and meta-analysis. PMID 30255989
  • From the lab to patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis of mesenchymal stem cell therapy for stroke. PMID 31654281
  • An analysis of mesenchymal stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles for preclinical use. PMID 32697573
  • A systematic review and meta-analysis examining the impact of age on perioperative inflammatory biomarkers. PMID 34962902
  • Tolerability and SCFA production after resistant starch supplementation in humans: a systematic review of randomized control studies. PMID 34871343
  • The effects of biological sex on sepsis treatment in animal models: a systematic review and a narrative elaboration on sex- and gender- dependent differences in sepsis. PMID 34151276

We are working towards reporting guidelines for systematic reviews. Members of our group and collaborators contributed to the recent update for the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) Statement. We have recently reported on characteristics of preclinical systematic reviews. We are currently developing reporting guidelines for systematic reviews of preclinical/basic science studies using in vivo animal models.

Patient Engagement

Simply put, patient engagement in research can be described as “research being carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ [patients/ caregivers/ the public] rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them” (INVOLVE). Patients (i.e., those with lived experience of a health condition or their family/friends) become members of our research team.

The core concept behind patient engagement is that patients and caregivers are the ultimate end-users of the healthcare innovations, thus they should have a voice to help guide research to develop and evaluate these past/ongoing projects focused on or including patient engagement.

We are studying and supporting patient engagement in very early phase clinical trials and even bench-based laboratory research.

  • Building a platform for meaningful patient partnership to accelerate “bench-to-bedside" translation of promising new therapies. PMID 35467515
  • Partnering with patients to get better outcomes with chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy: towards engagement of patients in early phase trials. PMID 33072399
  • Patient engagement in preclinical laboratory research: a scoping review. PMID 34280783
  • Stakeholder engagement in economic evaluation: protocol for using the nominal group technique to elicit patient, healthcare provider, and health system stakeholder input in the development of an early economic evaluation model of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy. PMID 34385243
  • Making Patient Partnerships a Reality in Very Early Phase Clinical TriaLs. (MARVEL)

A Patient Partner's Perspective

Addressing Rigour and Reproducibility in Preclinical (Lab Based) Research

It is critical that preclinical studies are designed well, executed with minimal bias, and transparently reported. There are ethical imperatives to use the fewest animals necessary, and economic imperatives to inform clinical trials as to the most-promising candidates for translation. Unfortunately, poor methodology and reporting of preclinical research has led to animal waste and erosion of confidence that preclinical research can inform clinical outcomes.

Our research group seeks to identify areas of weakness in design, conduct, analysis, and reporting of preclinical research. Having identified areas requiring change, our goal is then to develop guidance, frameworks, and processes to improve the preclinical pipeline. We maximize uptake and influence of this research by engaging stakeholders at a variety of levels in the research community, such as patient partners, researchers, publishers, funders, and regulators.

  • Identifying and understanding factors that affect the translation of therapies from the laboratory to patients: a study protocol. PMID 33123348
  • Assessing the completeness of reporting in preclinical oncolytic virus therapy studies. PMID 31276026
  • Reporting preclinical anesthesia study (REPEAT): evaluating the quality of reporting in the preclinical anesthesiology literature. PMID 31120888
  • Surrogate humane endpoints in small animal models of acute lung injury: a modified Delphi consensus study of researchers and laboratory veterinarians. PMID 33332817
  • Epidemiology and reporting characteristics of preclinical systematic reviews. PMID 33951050

Multicenter Preclinical Studies

Preclinical multicenter studies are a form of collaborative research formally conducted at multiple laboratories using a shared protocol and analysis. The use of the multicenter study design has been advocated as a solution to both the ‘replication’ crisis in preclinical research and the failure to translate innovative findings from laboratories to patients.

The Blueprint Translational Research Group is leading Canada’s first preclinical multicenter studies funded by CIHR’s Sepsis Network as well as the Canadian Anesthesiologist’s Society:

  • National Preclinical Sepsis Platform: developing a framework for accelerating innovation in Canadian sepsis research. PMID 33738642
  • Surrogate humane endpoints in small animal models of acute lung injury: a modified Delphi consensus study of researchers and laboratory veterinarians. PMID 33332817
  • Sex and gender-dependent differences in clinical and preclinical sepsis. PMID 33399356
  • A systematic assessment of preclinical multilaboratory studies and a comparison to single laboratory studies. DOI 10.31219/osf.io/92u7d

Lung Injury and Sepsis

Despite decades of research, supportive therapy remains to be the mainstay treatment as there is currently no effective specific therapy for either condition. Our lab focuses on studying potential new therapies to treat sepsis and ARDS including mesenchymal stem cells and their paracrine factors (e.g., extracellular vesicles). Watch this space for ongoing work as it is published!