Funding awarded to researchers to optimize blood product use

Thursday, April 30, 2020 Everad Tilokee

Through the Blood Efficiency Accelerator Program, Canadian Blood Services supports projects that improve the use of blood products. These improvements can be realized at any point from vein to vein, that is from the point of blood collection, through manufacturing, distribution, and storage, to clinical use.

Congratulations to the recent Blood Efficiency Accelerator Program recipients:

  • Jason Acker (University of Alberta & Canadian Blood Services) 
  • Calvino Cheng (Dalhousie University)
  • Andrew Shih (University of British Columbia) 

These projects will increase our understanding of how to optimize the use of blood products to better serve Canadians.

For example, when stored frozen red blood cells must remain below -65°C. However, occasionally during storage, these red blood cells may experience unintentional warming. Jason Acker’s project will evaluate the impact of unintentional warming on the quality of red blood cells. The results may lead to changes in the storage and management of frozen red blood cells.

Despite being within their shelf life, blood products can be  discarded prior to being transfused into a patient. Calvino Cheng’s team will use artificial intelligence technology to investigate why blood products are discarded. Looking at data from several Nova Scotia hospitals, his work aims to identify discard trends to allow hospital staff to respond quickly to reduce blood product wastage.

Andrew Shih’s project will focus on patients undergoing stem cell transplantation often used to treat cancers of the blood and bone marrow. Sometimes patients receive stem cells from donors who are not of the same blood type. With time, the recipient’s blood type will switch to their donor’s blood type. This presents a complex situation if the recipient needs a blood transfusion, and so these patients receive universal blood. Andrew Shih’s team will use a series of blood and genetic testing to determine when recipients undergo blood type switching to reduce the unnecessary use of universal blood.

To learn more about these funded research projects, visit our funded research projects page.

Call for applications!

Do you have an idea that might improve the efficient and appropriate use of blood products?

The BEAP Summer 2020 competition is currently open with an application deadline of July 17, 2020.

The Postdoctoral Fellowship Program 2020 competition is also open and accepting applications until July 17, 2020.

To learn more about these Programs, visit our research funding opportunities page.

To stay informed about Canadian Blood Services’ Centre for Innovation funding opportunities, please sign up for our Research & Education newsletter.

Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.


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