New program to enhance the survival and quality of life of Canadians needing organ and tissue transplants

April 22, 2013

Ottawa, ON — Canadian transplant patients have new hope as the Harper Government today announced the launch of a new national transplantation research program that will develop new knowledge and health care practices that address barriers to tissue and organ donation and will improve health outcomes for transplant recipients in Canada. The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health made the announcement at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. The Minister was joined by Dr. Lori West, Director of the new Canadian National Transplant Research Program (CNTRP), and Hélène Campbell, a double lung transplant recipient and co-founder of the Give 2 Live Campaign.

“Our Government recognized the need for a national program to help Canadians who have received or who are waiting for tissue and organ transplants,” said Minister Aglukkaq. "That is why we committed to fund this research program and we are delivering on this commitment to Canadians. This program will provide important information to guide the development of policies and programs that increase tissue and organ donation in Canada and enhance the survival and quality of life of Canadians who receive transplants.”

The CNTRP brings together over 105 investigators across 9 provinces. The program will transform the field of transplantation by addressing the barriers to donation therefore increasing the number of available organs, improving the quality and viability of donated organs and grafts, and enhancing long-term survival and quality of life of transplant patients. The CNTRP is the first program in the world to unite and integrate the solid organ transplant, bone marrow transplant and the donation and critical care research communities together in a groundbreaking national research endeavour.

"The transplant and donation communities across Canada have come together to create a truly unique collective research program that will foster innovation, creativity and collaboration in new ways that will increase our ultimate effectiveness," said Dr. Lori West, Director of the CNTRP and Professor of Pediatrics, Surgery and Immunology at the University of Alberta. "This integration will improve donation and transplant programs across the country and will impact the lives of transplant patients and those awaiting transplant."

“Canadian transplant centres and organizations are working together, for patients like me,” said Hélène Campbell, double-lung transplant recipient and organ donation advocate. “The results of this program will be groundbreaking for all patients.”

Funding for this program is being provided through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) in partnership with Canadian Blood Services, Canadian Liver Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Canada, Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé, Genome British Columbia, and the Kidney Foundation of Canada.


In 2011, the CIHR - Institute of Infection and Immunity identified transplantation research as a priority area and organized a consultation workshop to obtain advice and input from members of the transplantation research community and interested partner organizations. The CIHR Program Grant in Transplantation Research was developed, in partnership with key organizations in the transplantation community, in response to the workshop recommendations.

The CNTRP will be supported through the CIHR Program Grant in Transplantation with $11.25M from CIHR, in addition to $2.6M from the partners below, for a total of $13.85M.

• Canadian Blood Services –
• Canadian Liver Foundation –
• Cystic Fibrosis Canada –
• Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé –
• Genome BC –
• Kidney Foundation of Canada -

Canadian National Transplant Research Program (CNTRP)
The Canadian National Transplant Research Program is a new national initiative designed to increase organ and tissue donation in Canada and enhance the survival and quality of life of Canadians who receive transplants. The program is led by Drs. Lori West at the Alberta Transplant Institute at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and Marie-Josée Hébert at the Université de Montréal and brings together 105 investigators and 86 collaborators from across Canada to carry out research and develop resources to help Canadians waiting for a tissue or organ transplant.

The specific goals of the program are to:

• Increase the availability of transplants
• Extend the longevity of grafts
• Improve the long-term survival and quality of life of transplant patients
• Develop and enhance the pool of researchers and clinicians in the field of transplantation
• Integrate and coordinate transplantation research nationwide

The program represents a national collaboration involving research funding agencies, national health charities, industry, hospitals and academic health centres across the country.

For more information, please visit the website of the Canadian National Transplant Research Program.


Cailin Rodgers
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health

David Coulombe
Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Paddy Moore
Manager, Communications and Public Relations,
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada’s health research investment agency. CIHR’s mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 14,100 health researchers and trainees across

The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and is an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, closely associated with the university’s Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences. OHRI includes more than 1,700 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease. Research at OHRI is supported by The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.
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