Canadian Blood Services teams up with Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada to support soldiers in the field

Soldiers on the battlefield with a helicopter
Photo credit: Private Marc-André Leclerc, Canadian Armed Forces

(OTTAWA) – When a soldier is seriously wounded in battle, they typically need to be treated early with blood and plasma to improve their likelihood of survival, but because of the way our blood components are currently formulated they cannot always be delivered quickly in the field.  

To help save the lives of injured soldiers in combat zones, Canadian Blood Services in partnership with the Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada, is working to revive an innovative solution, the use of dried blood components. Dried plasma can save lives as it can be much more easily administered on the battlefield. It can be stored at room temperature and requires less storage space, meaning that soldiers can carry it into combat for medics to administer on the spot. A Canadian supply of dried plasma may also benefit civilians who suffer traumatic injuries. 

“The Canadian Armed Forces depends on Canada’s blood authorities to support its members at home and abroad. We value our relationship and this important collaboration with Canadian Blood Services,” Major-General Scott Malcolm, Canadian Armed Forces Surgeon General, says. 

During the Second World War and the Korean War dried serum was used extensively in battlefield surgery and was produced in Canada. However, for blood safety reasons the program was discontinued. Since then, there have been many advances in the safety of the blood system and dried plasma is once again being considered to support battlefield medicine.  

Canadian Blood Services has been funded by Veterans Affairs Canada on behalf of the Department of National Defence to carry out the necessary research to work towards re-establishing the ability to produce dried plasma with the addition of modern testing and pathogen reduction processes. This important collaboration is expected to also have domestic benefits for the Canadian blood system. 

“Innovative research partnerships like this collaboration with the Canadian Armed Forces are an important foundation of Canadian Blood Services’ commitment to put the needs of patients first and provide lifesaving support to people in need, including military personnel on the battlefield and civilians in trauma settings.” Graham Sher, CEO of Canadian Blood Services says. 

About Canadian Blood Services 

Canadian Blood Services is a not-for-profit charitable organization. Regulated by Health Canada as a biologics manufacturer and primarily funded by the provincial and territorial ministries of health, Canadian Blood Services operates with a national scope, infrastructure and governance that make it unique within Canadian healthcare. In the domain of blood, plasma and stem cells, we provide services for patients on behalf of all provincial and territorial governments except Quebec. The national transplant registry for interprovincial organ sharing and related programs reaches into all provinces and territories, as a biological lifeline for Canadians. 

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