To build a transformative internationally recognized academic transplant program.
The mission of the Alberta Transplant Institute is to achieve global impact with respect to the tripartite goals of cutting edge research, exemplary patient care and highly sought-out educational opportunities.
The formation of the Institute brings together multiple transplant programs [kidney, liver, heart, lung, islet, bone marrow, and others] and strengths under a single umbrella allowing us to work towards common goals.
Goals of the Alberta Transplant Institute
Improving outcomes for patients
Improving outcomes for patients waiting for transplant and for those who have received a transplant is central to what we do.
This includes: Improving long-term function of organs following transplantation, exploring new therapies to reduce rejection by increasing tolerance to transplant organs, exploring new strategies to best prevent infectious diseases following transplantation, transplantation across blood-group barriers, and improving our ability to diagnose complications post-transplant and personalize treatment.
The Institute will also develop new strategic research directions that can be translated into cures and treatments for diseases related to organ failure. This includes regenerative medicine and tissue engineering technology to repair organs using stem cells, or even grow new organs in the laboratory from stem cells.
We will also push the boundaries of transplantation by expanding transplantation techniques into new areas, including soft-tissue transplantation for hand and face — currently available in only a few centers around the world.
Preventing deaths by making transplantation more accessible
There’s a growing divide in Canada between the number of patients on transplant waiting lists and available organs. While the demand for organs grows, the number of donors remains flat. Canada has one of the lowest organ donor rates among in industrialized countries. Sadly, that means that many patients die while waiting for the gift of an organ.
The Institute will develop new initiatives to increase the number of donor organs. Education and awareness campaigns around organ donation will be an important aspect of this. Working with our critical care colleagues, and the HOPE program [Human Organ Procurement and Exchange] and the community we will strive to increase organ donation awareness.
The institute will also use innovative technologies to enhance our ability to utilize donated organs. Through a process called ex-vivo organ perfusion, it is possible to repair organs before transplantation, making it possible to use organs that otherwise would not be suitable for surgery.This technique is currently applied to donated kidneys but with more resources, researchers can successfully adapt this to other organs such as lungs and heart.
Training and attracting the next generation of transplant specialists
Training is key to the future of transplantation and training and education is a key mandate. Our goal is to be an internationally recognized centre where young and upcoming scientists can develop expertise in all areas of transplant care and research to become tomorrow’s leaders.
Utilizing group research for innovative programs will help the Institute become a magnet for the best and brightest minds in the world.