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Joining Forces to Improve Blood Research in Canada

By September 29, 2020No Comments

An idea born over Friday night beers among a group of blood researchers grew into Canada’s first interdisciplinary blood research centre, and a valuable resource for established and emerging blood scientists.

The fateful meeting was in 2002, following significant changes to Canada’s blood system. In 1997, Canada’s public inquiry into the contaminated blood crisis of the 1980s and 1990s culminated in Justice Horace Krever’s recommendation for a national, accountable and public blood service. The following year, Canadian Blood Services was established to fulfill this need, and Canada now has one of the safest blood systems in the world.

Back to the blood scientists in the bar. They were thinking about another recommendation of Krever’s: that Canada needed to pursue research excellence in blood and transfusion medicine because a lack of expertise in transfusion science was one of the root causes of the contaminated blood crisis. This is where they knew they could help, and they decided they would. And that they’d aim high.

“We wrote a grant application for a little over $15 million to the Canadian Foundation for Innovation to establish a new research centre at UBC, full of lofty goals,” says Dr. Dana Devine, who is now Canadian Blood Services’ chief scientist. She also maintains her lab and faculty appointment at UBC and has a long and distinguished history of working with blood operators in Canada.