From left to right: Stuart Iversen, John Tolson, Dr. Jean Tchervenkov and Me. Pierre-Hugues Fortin

On February 13, the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Foundation celebrated the generosity of the John R. McConnell Foundation for their support of an innovative stem cell trial being planned to benefit kidney transplant patients at the MUHC.

The trial to be lead by Dr.Jean Tchervenkov, Director of Living Donor Renal Transplantation and Surgical Director of Pediatric Renal Transplantation at the McGill University Health Centre, will be focussed on reducing the risk associated with kidney transplantation. All kidney transplants result in a temporary dysfunction in the first 2-4 weeks after surgery, called Ischemia-reperfusion. Dr.Tchervenkov and his team are planning to investigate how the use of umbilical cord stem cells can improve the speed at which transplanted kidneys become functional. Reducing the amount of time that the kidney is not functioning optimally, has a direct impact on how long the kidney will in fact perform, and can prolong the amount of time before the transplant patient would need to return to dialysis, from an estimated 5-10 years to potentially 20 years.

“The generosity of the John R. McConnell Foundation is an example of how philanthropic support can drive innovation,” says Julie Quenneville, President of the MUHC Foundation. “Providing funding for clinical trials has a direct impact on our ability to offer the very best in patient care to our transplant patients, and we are very grateful to the Foundation and the late John R. McConnell.”

In recognition for their generosity the MUHC Foundation has named a patient room in the transplant unit of the Royal Victoria Hospital in honour of the John R. McConnell Foundation.