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Since the start of our Foundation in 1964 we provided Canadian researchers with more than $124 million in research grants and awards. Over this time period, there have been countless breakthroughs, big and small, in the field of kidney research that have contributed to improving treatments and quality of life for those living with chronic kidney disease.

Here are just a few examples of the progress made thanks to scientific research:

  • Early 1960s
    • Dialysis centers are scarce and life-supporting treatment is available to only a small minority of patients
    • Dialysis treatments take 8 to 10 hours per day, every other day
    • Canada’s first successful kidney transplant between people who are not identical twins is performed at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Quebec
    • Tissue typing and immunosuppression with drugs are used for the first time in a kidney transplant.
  • 1970s
    • A Swiss pharmaceutical company discovered cyclosporine (a fungal extract that combats organ rejection). This made transplants without ideal donors feasible
    • Home dialysis treatments becomes more readily available
  • 1980s
    • Dialysis treatments are shortened to 4-hour sessions, 3 times per week
  • 1990s
    • Transplantation is accepted as mainstream medicine.
    • First nocturnal home hemodialysis in Canada
    • First laparoscopic live-donor nephrectomy – the surgical removal of the kidney in which a fiber-optic instrument is inserted through the abdominal wall eliminating the need for open abdominal surgery
    • Horizons 2000+ conference held resulting in a commitment to the development of a trans-disciplinary, translational research training program to enhance the capacity for kidney research in Canada
  • 2000s
    • Special research competition focused on organ donation results in the National Guidelines to Address Gaps in the Organ Donation Process, based on research by Dr. Sam Shemie
    • The “Halifax Protocol” – the successful combination of two anti-rejection drugs that drastically reduces organ rejection – earns international attention
    • Kidney Research Scientist Core Education and National Training (KRESCENT) program is launched to cultivate the next generation of kidney researchers
  • 2010s and beyond
    • A donor kidney kept healthy outside the body using an ex vivo device is successfully transplanted for the first time in North America
    • Research continues to bring a “portable dialysis machine” closer to becoming reality
    • Work in the field of 3D printing technology and stem cell research holds a great deal of promise
Some of the world’s leading kidney research initiatives are taking place in Canada, the results of which continually serve to expand the understanding of kidney function and kidney disease worldwide.