Canadian Blood Services Launches Living Donor Paired Exchange Registry

    First Canadian Registry of Its Kind to Increase Kidney Donations and Save

    OTTAWA, Feb. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadian Blood Services has publicly
launched the Living Donor Paired Exchange Registry, a new and innovative
registry that is designed to facilitate kidney donations among live donors and
further help Canadians suffering from life-threatening kidney disease.
    The Living Donor Paired Exchange Registry is a unique development for
Canada's healthcare system, and represents completion of the first major
deliverable under Canadian Blood Services' newly created Organs and Tissues
    "The launch of this new registry is a great achievement for our
organization and demonstrates the importance we are placing on our new
mandate, which includes registries that will coordinate organ and tissue
donations across Canada," said Dr. Graham D. Sher, Chief Executive Officer of
Canadian Blood Services. "Since receiving this new mandate from the provinces
and territories in August 2008, we have worked hard to deliver results for
Canadians. Our stakeholders told us they wanted action, and we've listened."
    The registry is designed to match live kidney donors with suitable
recipients who are suffering from end stage renal disease (kidney disease) and
in need of a transplant. Frequently, healthy and motivated Canadians are
unable to be living kidney donors because their blood group or tissue type is
incompatible with their intended recipient - such as a friend or relative. In
a paired exchange, these live kidney donors - healthy people who donate one of
their two kidneys - are matched with other compatible recipients. Once an
acceptable match is made, a swap occurs between two sets of kidney donors and
    The more pairs that register, the greater the chances of finding
compatible kidney matches. The Living Donor Paired Exchange Registry will
dramatically increase the pool of living kidney donors across Canada and bring
together people who are motivated to help those in need of a transplant.
    There is a rising need for kidney donors in Canada. Currently, about
35,000 Canadians suffer from kidney disease and 3,000 people in this country
are on waiting lists for a kidney transplant, according to the Canadian Organ
Replacement Register (CORR). In 2007, there were nearly 1,200 kidney
transplants performed in Canada, with about 480 coming from live donors. Live
kidney donations have been growing in recent years, while kidney donations
from deceased donors have been growing at a much slower pace.
    No one knows the importance of live donations more than Ottawa resident
Gene Borys. In need of a kidney transplant, Mr. Borys' wife, Kelly Shannon,
wanted to give him one of her two healthy kidneys. However, she was not a
compatible match. But the selflessness of an anonymous live kidney donor set
off a chain reaction that saved several lives, and resulted in the region's
first "domino surgery" in late 2008 at The Ottawa Hospital. Recipients from
two donor pairs and one person on the waiting list received kidneys in this
    What possesses someone to give a stranger one of their working kidneys?
Just ask former school teacher Kathryn McIntyre. At the end of 2008, Ms.
McIntyre offered one of her healthy kidneys to whoever needed it most through
The Toronto General Hospital's transplant program. Her generosity resulted in
four people receiving kidneys, and the first domino surgery in Canada that
involved eight people. "Why do it? Because I can," said Ms. McIntyre.
    While these two transplant surgical procedures did not result from the
new registry, they are a testament to the power of live donations.
    "The Living Donor Paired Exchange Registry is a major advance for kidney
donations and transplants in this country," said Dr. Peter Nickerson,
Executive Medical Director of Organ Transplantation at Canadian Blood
Services. "Creating a centralized registry such as this gives us critical
mass, greatly increases the chances of finding suitable matches, and more
living donors will have their wishes fulfilled. Canadians in need will now be
able to get compatible kidneys faster, and that will save lives."
    Canadian Blood Services forecasts that the Living Donor Paired Exchange
Registry will increase live kidney donations in Canada by 20 per cent or more.
Other benefits to be realized from the new registry include:

    - Greater access to a larger pool of living kidney donors
    - Reduced wait times for kidney transplants
    - Improved health outcomes for patients with end stage kidney disease
    - Establishment of a national registry that will provide access to all
      transplant programs and ensure quality, consistent data for future
      matches and research

    Medical studies conducted in Canada and the United States have found that
transplants are more cost-effective than dialysis for treatment of end stage
kidney disease. In the U.S., studies have shown that kidney transplants
conducted through paired donations save the healthcare system an average of $1
million per transplant compared to the costs associated with long-term kidney
    The Living Donor Paired Exchange Registry is now live and has been
populated with 23 pairs and growing. Pilot transplant programs through the
registry are being conducted in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, with
other provinces to be added shortly.

    About Canadian Blood Services

    Canadian Blood Services is a national, not-for-profit charitable
organization that manages the supply of blood and blood products in all
provinces and territories outside of Quebec. Canadian Blood Services also
oversees the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network, and provides national
leadership for organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Canadian Blood
Services operates 40 permanent collection sites and more than 20,000 donor
clinics annually. The provincial and territorial Ministries of Health provide
operational funding to Canadian Blood Services. The federal government,
through Health Canada, is responsible for regulating the blood system. For
more information, please visit our Web site at

For further information:

For further information: Media Inquiries may be directed as follows:
About the registry: Ron Vezina, Director Media Relations and External
Communications, (613) 739-2044, Cell: (613) 715-0199,;
About the Ottawa domino surgery: Allison Neill, Director Media Relations, The
Ottawa Hospital, (613) 737-8899 ext. 70273,; About the
Toronto domino surgery: Alexandra Radkewycz, Toronto General Hospital,
University Health Network, (416) 340-3895,

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