Announcing the Results of the 2014 CST/CNTRP Research Grant Competition
The Canadian Society of Transplantation (CST) and the Canadian National Transplant Research Program (CNTRP) are pleased to announce the results of the 2014 CST/CNTRP Research Innovation Grant Competition. The CST provided the funding for this grant competition, which was administered and run by the CNTRP. Over a dozen applications were received and 2 applications were selected to receive $25K each to support research in the area of translation of enhanced non-invasive diagnostics and monitoring into clinical practice.
Dr. Nowell Fine, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Cardiac Sciences at the University of Calgary, received funding for his project entitled “Detection of Cardiac Allograft Vasculopathy Using Myocardial Contrast Perfusion Imaging: A Multicenter Study in Adult and Pediatric Transplant Recipients”. This study will examine the use of a safe noninvasive diagnostic test (cardial contrast perfusion echocardiography) to detect blockages in the arteries of adult and pediatric heart transplant recipients, and compare those results to current standard testing strategies. This research will help determine, in a clinical setting, whether myocardial contrast perfusion echocardiography is a better and safer test for the regular surveillance of coronary allograft vasculopathy (CAV) for adult and pediatric transplant recipients.
Dr. Giada Sebastiani, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at McGill University, received funding for her project entitled “Non-invasive diagnosis of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis in liver transplant recipients: a prospective, longitudinal study employing serum citokeratin 18 and transient elastography”. Fatty liver is a common and serious long-term problem for liver transplant recipients and can lead to loss of the transplanted liver. There is currently very little information on the recurrence of fatty liver and the only way to detect fatty liver in a patient is to undergo a liver biopsy, which can be painful and lead to complications. Dr. Sebastiani and her team will study the frequency and risk factors of recurrent fatty liver and test the effectiveness of new technology (Fibroscan) and a simple blood test (cytokeratin 18) that have been developed to measure liver damage without pain or the need for a liver biopsy.
The CST and the CNTRP look forward to supporting Drs. Sebastiani and Fine and welcoming their projects into the structure of the CNTRP. The CST and CNTRP also thank all the Committee Members and Expert Reviewers that participated in this first research grant competition who helped to ensure that this was a fair and competitive process for the Canadian research community.
About the Canadian Society of Transplantation
Founded 35 years ago, the Canadian Society of Transplantation is the organization of professionals dedicated to leading, advancing, and advocating for patient care, research, and education in organ donation and transplantation in Canada. We currently have more than 600 members from across the country, representing all fields of clinical practice and scientific research. The mission of the CST is to advance the science and clinical practice of organ donation and transplantation for the benefit of patients with organ failure. For more information about the CST, visit www.cst-transplant.ca
About The Canadian National Transplant Research Program (CNTRP)
The Canadian National Transplant Research Program (CNTRP) is a nationally funded research network that will help Canadians waiting for transplants and extend the lives of those who have already received one. The CNTRP develops new knowledge and health care practices to address barriers to tissue and organ donation, aims to increase the availability of transplants and seeks to enhance the survival and quality of life of patients who receive transplants. The CNTRP brings together over 200 investigators, trainees and collaborators at 22 institutions from across Canada, representing the major health researchers from basic biomedical, clinical and policy arenas. The CNTRP weaves the solid organ transplant, hematopoietic cell transplant and donation and critical care communities into a highly integrated national research coalition. For more information about the CNTRP, visit www.cntrp.ca
Detection of Cardiac Allograft Vasculopathy Using Myocardial Contrast Perfusion Imaging: A Multicenter Study in Adult and Pediatric Transplant Recipient
Lead Investigator: Nowell Fine
Co-Investigators: Lori West, Steven Greenway, Debra Isaac, Sharon Mulvagh, Benjamin Eidem, Sudhir Kushwaha, Jonathan Johnson, Sahar Abdelmoniem
Heart transplantation is a life prolonging treatment for patients with severe heart failure. Heart transplant recipients are susceptible to developing a unique disease that causes blockages in the arteries of the transplanted heart (coronary arteries) called coronary allograft vasculopathy (CAV). Because CAV often progresses without symptoms, transplant recipients undergo regular surveillance testing so that CAV can be detected and treatment offered before significant damage to the transplanted heart occurs. Current tests used to detect CAV are either invasive (with risk of complications) or may not be able to detect CAV in its early stages. Myocardial contrast perfusion echocardiography is a safe noninvasive diagnostic test that may be well suited for detecting CAV, however has not been well studied in heart transplant recipients. This study will examine the ability of myocardial contrast perfusion echocardiography to detect CAV in adult and pediatric heart transplant recipients, and compare those results to current standard testing strategies such as invasive coronary angiography and standard stress echocardiography. This will help to determine whether myocardial contrast perfusion echocardiography is a better test for regular surveillance of CAV for adult and pediatric transplant recipients.
Non-invasive diagnosis of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis in liver transplant recipients: a prospective, longitudinal study employing serum citokeratin 18 and transient elastography
Lead Investigator: Giada Sebastiani
Co-Investigators: Peter Metrakos, Philip Wong, Marc Deschenes, Peter Ghali
Liver transplantation is a life saving procedure for persons with cirrhosis. Preserving a long-term good function of the new liver is the goal of doctors following patients after transplantation. Fatty liver is a common indication for liver transplantation due to obesity and diabetes. Recurrence of fatty liver into the transplanted liver is frequent due to excess metabolic risk factors (including diabetes, rapid weight gain, and immunosuppressive therapy used to avoid rejection of the new liver). This is a serious problem and can lead to loss of the transplanted liver. However, recurrence of fatty liver has not been studied in detail. One reason for the lack of research is one of the only ways to detect fatty liver is to undergo liver biopsy, which can be painful and has complications. Recently, a new technology (Fibroscan) and a simple blood test (cytokeratin 18) have been developed which can tell doctors how much a liver is damaged and how much fat it contains without pain or complications. We plan to recruit 40 patients who undergo liver transplant within 6 months after obtaining informed consent. Transplanted patients will be followed with Fibroscan and cytokeratin 18 at 3 months intervals for one year. We will study frequency and risk factors of recurrent fatty liver. We will compare the accuracy of these non-invasive tools with liver biopsy, which is part of the current standard of care. The proposed study will help identify, in a non-invasive manner, transplanted patients with fatty liver. We believe that this study will provide important information on frequency of fatty liver and will limit in transplanted patients the need to biopsy in the future, with important advantages for the patient and the health care system.