Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada
Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

PROOF Centre partners with Luminex Corporation to bring the centre’s new test for transplant patients to hospital labs

Organ transplantation is a highly complex area of medicine. Even after a patient has received a new organ, he or she faces the pain and anxiety of biopsies to test organ function. And if something does go wrong, these tests often catch the problem only when treatment becomes more invasive, costly, and less effective.

The Centre of Excellence for the Prevention of Organ Failure (PROOF Centre) has partnered with Luminex Corporation to bring a ground-breaking new test for transplant patients to hospital labs. The new technology seeks to decrease the number of biopsies required by transplant patients, saving the health care system money and saving patients the pain and anxiety of repeated invasive procedures.

A new, less invasive test

The new test, developed by the PROOF Centre, relies on monitoring biological markers (biomarkers) in blood tests instead of from tissue samples from biopsies. Biopsies remain an important tool, but their necessity would be guided by the blood test, rather than occurring on a routine basis.

This is especially good news for heart transplant patients, most of whom undergo at least a dozen biopsies in the first year after a transplant. Not only does this represent emotional stress, but it also costs the health care system $5,000 per biopsy. The new technology, therefore, has the potential to cut costs associated with heart transplants in Canada by tens of millions of dollars annually.

“By guiding the need for biopsy tests with a reliable, quantitative blood biomarker test that measures proteins or genes in the blood, we can provide less expensive, better care while gaining insights into the biology of rejection or immune accommodation,” said Dr. Bruce McManus, Director of the PROOF Centre, in a recent statement.

Improving treatment

The tests could also be used to improve treatment. Using the biomarker technology, doctors could personalize post-transplant treatment by monitoring the patient’s biomarkers.

Current treatment methods for organ failure are costly and often take place late. The PROOF Centre plans to use biomarkers to discover earlier signs of organ failure in order to intervene when less damage has been done.

According to the PROOF Centre, one in four Canadians may be at risk for organ failure, a number that has grown in recent years due to the rise in contributing conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

Commercializing Canadian research

The new biomarker test will run on Luminex’s existing technology. The platform is already used in hospitals and labs around the world.

“The PROOF Centre has expertise in discovering and using biomarkers to enhance the care these patients receive and prevent complications that can occur following an organ transplant,” said Mike Pintek, Senior Vice-President of Operations with Luminex Corporation. “We are pleased to partner with this organization to expand the tools available to physicians who treat transplant patients.”

The PROOF Centre and Luminex plan to apply for regulatory approval in Canada in 2011.

The PROOF Centre is one of the Networks of Centres of Excellence’s Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research. These world-class centres advance research and facilitate the commercialization of technologies, products and services in order to ensure significant return on R&D investment. The PROOF Centre discovers, develops and commercializes biological markers (biomarkers) to diagnose, prevent and treat heart, lung and kidney failure through personalized medicine. The centre includes partners from industry, academia, government and not-for-profit organizations.

Return to newsletter menu