Archive | November 2016

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2016 CNTRP ATI Research Innovation Grant!

Three grants are being funded through the 2016 CNTRP ATI Research Innovation Grant.


Dr. Jayan Nagendran, University of Alberta

Co-Investigator: Dr. Michael Mengel

Study Title: Molecular quantification of tissue injury and repair pre, during, and post ex-vivo perfusion of swine lung transplants (New CNTRP study under Project 1)


Dr. Faisal Khan, University of Calgary

Co-Investigators: Dr. Lee Anne Tibbles, Dr. BerkaYilmaz

Study Title: Gene Variants Influencing Complement-Dependent Cytotoxicity (CDC) and Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity (ADSS) as Predictors of Antibody Mediated Rejection (AMR) after Kidney Transplantation (New CNTRP study under Project 3)


Dr. Simon Urschel, University of Alberta

Co-Investigator: Dr. Lori West

Study Title: Aerobic capacity, muscle strength, and muscle endurance after pediatric transplantation (New CNTRP study under Project 7, Core 2 and Project 6)

Additional details about the successful grant applications in Alberta and across Canada can be found on the CNTRP website and on the ATI Website

Watch “Vital Bonds” on CBC if you missed the broadcast premiere last week

“Vital Bonds” was produced for CBC’s “The Nature of Things” and was broadcast nationally on Nov. 23.

If you weren’t able to see the documentary on tv, the entire episode is currently available online at CBC Documentaries.

Additional information about the documentary is available here.


“Vital Bonds”: TV Broadcast Nov. 17 at 8:00pm


The hour long transplantation and donation documentary, Vital Bonds, will be aired on CBC on November 17, 2016, 8pm. Vital Bonds was directed by Niobe Thompson and produced by Rosie Dransfeld, in partnership with the National Film Board. This documentary was filmed in Edmonton last year, at the University of Alberta Hospital.

Vital Bonds was produced for CBC’s “Nature of Things” with David Suzuki, it includes many of the elements and people from the full length film “Memento Mori”, with narration and a increased focus on the science of transplantation.

November 10, 2016: Edmonton Premiere of the Transplantation Documentary “Memento Mori”


The National Film Board of Canada is proud to present

Directed by Niobe Thompson

Memento mori is an evocative cinematic journey alongside the living and the dying, bringing to the screen a human drama never-before captured on film. With remarkable access to Canada’s busiest organ-transplant hospital, we witness one of the most profound experiences in any human life: the loss of a child, and the agonizing decision this tragedy demands. Created by two acclaimed Canadian documentarians, director Niobe Thompson and producer Rosvita Dransfeld, Memento mori grips the viewer in a relentless, emotional embrace—propelling us from moments of unexpected joy to unbearable heartbreak—until the very final frame. An arresting tour de force of vérité filmmaking, immersing us completely in a world few of us understand but which we’ll all one day encounter.


November 10 at 7:00 p.m.
Screening followed by Q&A
with filmmakers Niobe Thompson, Rosvita Dransfeld and the Kidney Foundation

Encore screening on
November 13 at 1:00 p.m.

Metro Cinema
8712 – 109 St.

Additional information on the documentary, along with excerpts from an interview with Dr. James Shapiro, can be found here.

Special thanks to:
Alberta Health Services
University of Alberta University Relations
Kidney Foundation, Northern Alberta & The Territories Branch
The Alberta Transplant Institute

2017 International Pediatric Transplantation Association Conference: Abstract submission deadline Dec. 16, 2016


Abstract submission is now open for the IPTA conference in Barcelona, Spain May 27-30, 2017.

** Deadline for submitting abstracts is Dec. 16, 2016. **

Further details on the conference and abstract details can be found here.

The Transplantation Society: 2017 Science Symposium Call for Abstracts


The 2017 Science Symposium will be held in Victoria, BC.

** Abstracts are now being accepted, and are due by January 16, 2017. **

For more information, please visit The Transplantation Society Website.

Detailed instructions and submission for abstracts can be found here.

American Transplant Congress: Abstract submission deadline Dec. 2, 2016


The 2017 American Transplant Conference is now accepting abstracts for the April 29-May 3 conference in Chicago, IL.

** The deadline for submitting abstracts is Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. **

For more information, please visit their conference website.

Announcing the new Alberta Transplant Innovation Fund – ATIF – $1.2M to accelerate transplant research and innovation in Alberta

The University Hospital Foundation, Alberta Economic Development and Trade and Astellas Pharma Canada, Inc. (Astellas) announced last week a new research and innovation partnership that will have a direct and tangible impact on some of the most vulnerable Albertans – those waiting for organ transplantation.

The three organizations have partnered to establish the $1.2 million dollars Alberta Transplant Innovation Fund (ATIF). Through the collaboration of researchers, clinicians, industry leaders, government and philanthropy, ATIF will fund research aimed at improving the care available to transplant patients, and accelerating the translation of this research into technology that is commercially viable – and therefore available to clinicians and patients.

“The University Hospital Foundation is a proud supporter of the University of Alberta Hospital’s transplant program, having invested over $6 million to advance transplant patient care and technology,” says Bob Bessette, Chair of the University Hospital Foundation.

“Through the Alberta Transplant Innovation Fund we are taking that support to the next level, proudly partnering with Astellas and Alberta Economic Development and Trade to establish this fund, which is set to address some of the most significant challenges faced by transplant patients, and the medical experts who care for them.”

Alberta has historically faced low donor rates, and a high need for transplantable organs. In 2015, 300 organ transplant were performed at the University of Alberta Hospital, Alberta Health Services’ centre for organ transplantation in Northern Alberta, and the most comprehensive organ and tissue donation centre in Canada. These transplants were received from 84 organ donors. Meanwhile, 401 patients were waiting for an organ transplant in Edmonton.


from left: Michael Tremblay, President of Astellas Canada; Dr. Lee Anne Tibbles, Associate Professor at the University of Calgary and Medical Director, ALTRA Southern Alberta Transplant Program; Dr. Lori West, Professor at the University of Alberta and Director of both the Alberta Transplant Institute and the Canadian National Transplant Research Program; Dr. John Howell, Associate Director Medical Affairs at Astellas Pharma; Fran Paradiso-Hardy, Senior Director of Medical Affairs at Astellas Pharma; and Farid Foroud, Govt of Alberta Economic Development and Trade (EDT).


“This combination of low donor rates and high need for organs means that many Albertans do not receive the organs they so desperately need, and are left waiting on the transplant list – often until it is too late,” explains Dr. Lori West, Director of both the Canadian National Transplant Research Program and the Alberta Transplant Institute, and a pediatric transplant cardiologist.

In addition to addressing the need for organs and increasing donation rates, the ATIF will provide funding for researchers who seek to advance transplant technologies, improve care for transplant patients, and increase organ donation rates. But learning new ways to approach Alberta’s transplant challenges is not enough – this research must be taken to the next step and made commercially viable if it is to have the intended impact on Albertans.

“Alberta has and continues to be a leader in Immunology and Transplant research, both within Canada and globally,” said Fran Paradiso-Hardy, Senior Director of Medical Affairs, Astellas. “The ATIF creates the opportunity for future groundbreaking discoveries, helping more patients receive the life-changing gift of a transplant and to live a longer, better life with it.”

Through this partnership, Astellas is investing in the future of transplant in Alberta by supporting research in this area.

“It’s our hope that by supporting leading edge technologies, we can help make a difference for patients awaiting a transplant and their families.  Innovation plays an important part of building an economy for the future – but the most important role it can play is helping save a loved one’s life,” says Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade.

“With hundreds of Albertans waiting for an organ transplant, increasing transplant research and innovation will go a long way towards helping even more Albertans get the lifesaving surgeries they need,” adds Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health.

Alberta’s Life Sciences Sector is emerging as an important economic contributor. In 2014 revenues for the sector topped $1 billion; contributing 18,000 jobs to the Alberta economy. The remarkable advances in organ transplantation over the last two decades has created a burgeoning demand for transplant procedures, at a time when the Canadian healthcare system is facing constraints in resources and funding. Through partnerships with industry, researchers working in this sector will have access to both the economic investments and the commercial expertise they require to grow the industry, to benefit the health of all Albertans.

Through its strategic establishment, ATIF will help establish Alberta as a commercial hub for transplant technologies. And the partnership establishes the opportunity for other industry partners to invest in Alberta’s Life Sciences Sector, and to partner with Alberta’s dynamic medical research community to advance future innovation and excellence in Alberta.

The University Hospital Foundation has demonstrated its capacity and expertise in managing such private, public and philanthropic partnerships. Strategic Partnerships with the University Hospital Foundation bring together industry, public sector and philanthropic collaborators to advance innovation, and translate made-in-Alberta innovations into solutions that impact the health of all Albertans.

Details on the funding opportunities through the ATIF will be announced shortly.