Friday, June 15, 2007

Official Opening of Latner Thoracic Surgery Research Laboratory

On June 14th, 2007 I had the privilege of attending the opening of the Latner Thoracic Research Laboratory in Toronto. The new, state of the art facilities in the MaRS Discovery District were made possible by a grant from the Latner family of Toronto.

That's me in the center along with Anne Barbetta, double lung transplant recipient. I'll add the scientists names when I'm sure of the spelling. For all of the photos I took please go to my photo gallery.

click for larger view
Director of the laboratory, Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, world renowned for his work in lung transplantation, arranged for guided tours where some of the world's leading scientists gave us an overview of their work and experiments, which is truly exciting and groundbreaking.

Their major project is gene therapy in lung transplantation where they are working on techniques to genetically modify the donor lung so that it is better able to deal with the stress imposed upon it by the transplantation process.

This could lead to an increase in the availability of useable donor lungs and get more patients off the waiting list to receive their life-saving transplant. Right now, only about 2 of every 5 donor lungs turn out to be viable for transplantation.

The scientists are also using gene therapy to grow tissue, and hopefully someday new lungs entirely.

I came away from the experience realizing that when I'm fundraising for lung transplant research, it's not just for money to further and advance the research but what it all achieves eventually is that it saves lives, just as mine was saved by a single-lung transplant 5 years ago.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

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