Vancouver-based blood for research facility – a jewel in our Centre for Innovation

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 Dr. Geraldine Walsh
By Janet McManus and Geraldine Walsh

There is a very special blood donation clinic in Vancouver, BC and it, combined with a small-scale but fully equipped development laboratory, makes up the blood for research facility, part of Canadian Blood Services’ Centre for Innovation.

Donations at this unique clinic contribute to valuable discovery and development projects that ensure our blood system and transfusion medicine in Canada is continually improving and evolving.

First to try out new tools and technology, this team, led by Janet McManus, provides information to Canadian Blood Services’ own supply chain (our manufacturing groups) and also plays an important role in advancing transfusion medicine in Canada and around the world by providing research services and blood.

Here, scientists, medical professionals, blood manufacturing technology vendors and collection and production experts can innovate, evaluate improvements, develop new processes, and try out new equipment. It’s also where experts can access blood products for discovery research and the applied development of current and next-generation blood products and manufacturing technologies.

A few weeks back on this blog, we featured Dr. Ramirez's research project Challenging the 30-minute rule for red blood cells, which used red blood cells donated and prepared at our Vancouver site. This video clip briefly presents the products used in this project.


A unique blood research hub

Interestingly, this facility is located just steps away from the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Blood Research, the largest multidisciplinary blood research centre in the world. It shares a long-standing partnership with Canadian Blood Services that dates back to the founding of the Centre in 2002.

Dr. Dana Devine, Canadian Blood Services’ chief medical and scientific officer was a founding member and, along with many other scientists, has a lab located there. The close proximity and long-standing connection between Canadian Blood Services’, its blood for research facility, and the Centre for Blood Research makes this perhaps the most unique blood research hub worldwide.


Robyn Sussel, a long-time blood for research donor (bottom-left); Joanne and Emmanuel at work in the lab (top-left); Tamiko and Emmanuel (top-right).

Meet the team

A team of dedicated professionals collect whole blood and apheresis (a medical technique in which the plasma portion of the donor’s blood is separated during donation, and the red blood cells are returned to the donor) donations from donors and work in the production lab. Our RNs and clinic assistants run the whole blood and apheresis donor clinics, while our production assistants help with the clinic when necessary, manufacture blood products as needed and evaluate the quality of red cells and platelets using a variety of test methods. The project lead manages projects for our team and other researchers in the Centre for Innovation. (Just a few members of the Blood for Research team are pictured below.)



Left-Right: Judy Fung (RN), Tatiana Closas (clinic assistant), Joanne Ross (clinic and production assistant), Emmanuel Zurbano (production assistant), Tamiko Stewart (project lead), Riki Roberts (production assistant).


Donating Blood for Research

While this blood for research clinic boasts a small group of dedicated donors who give blood regularly, they have an ongoing need for more donors. That's why donors in Vancouver who are ineligible to donate blood for transfusion for a variety of reasons, may be able to donate here

“When I heard that I could not donate [for transfusion use], I took it very hard,” says Robyn Sussel,  a long-time blood for research donor. “However, I was lucky enough to have one of the nurses tell me about the blood for research facility. I love supporting research that improves the blood production process. Making that process more efficient is just as rewarding as giving blood in the regular system.”

We’ll be featuring projects that happen at this unique Blood for Research facility often in R.E.D., our research, education and discovery blog. Stay tuned...



Janet McManus, manager, netCAD blood for research


About the authors

Janet Mcmanus is the manager of the Vancouver-based Blood for Research facility, part of Canadian Blood Services' Centre for Innovation. 

Dr. Geraldine Walsh is a scientific writer with the Canadian Blood Services Centre for Innovation. 

Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration.

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services.

Original content on R.E.D. falls under a creative commons CC BY license. We invite you to take it and republish it (with attribution and a link back to the source).


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