Announcing the recipients of the National Child Health Transplant Team Grant

Elaine Yong and Aaron McArthur (parents of the first baby to undergo a heart transplant at BC Children’s Hospital) launched the Addison Pediatric Transplant Research Project with Transplant Research Foundation of BC (TRF) in 2013. The sole purpose of this ongoing project is to raise money to support research that addresses the specific transplant-related issues unique to pediatric patients.

In 2016, the Addison Fund of the TRF joined forces with the Canadian National Transplant Research Program (CNTRP) to launch the National Child Health Transplant Team Grant competition. This additional partner funding from Astellas Canada, the Alberta Transplant Institute and the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation provided a $100,000 grant .

Today, we are excited to announce the following recipient of the 2016 National Child Health Transplant Team Grant Competition:

“Preparing for Combined Stem Cell and Solid Organ Transplants: Learning from Hematopoietic Mixed Chimeras”,
Lead: Dr. Joerg Krueger from Sick Kids
Team: Drs. Donna Wall (ON), Lori West (AB), Victor Lewis (AB), Pierre Teira (QC), Elie Haddad (QC), Sunil Desai (AB), Rulan Parekh (ON), Geoffrey Cuvelier (MB), Kirk Schultz (BC)

Dr. Krueger’s team will look at how to combine a stem cell transplant with a solid organ
transplant to convince the recipient’s immune system into accepting the new organ as
its own. The study will examine a select population of kids from centres across Canada
who have had stem cell transplants and have been able to achieve a state of tolerance
to determine why some pediatric patients are able to achieve tolerance and others are
not. This could potentially mean that transplant patients would no longer require
immune suppression drugs, effectively turning transplant into a cure.

The need for pediatric specific transplant research cannot be over-stated. In Canada
(excluding Quebec), between 2006-2015, 1101 children had solid organ transplants.
That number continues to grow exponentially every year as medical advances have
made it possible for some of the sickest patients to survive. However, pediatric
transplant patients are not simply small adults. They have unique needs and issues that
require specific areas of study. This is why research is so critical!

“We are thrilled our first project through the Addison Fund is such innovative cutting
edge research that could prove to be a game changer for kids who need transplants,”
says Addison’s mom Elaine Yong. “Transplant isn’t a cure, at least not yet, and we know
research will get us there.”