Oct 2021

Dr. James Lan recipient of a 2021 MSFHR Scholar Award


The PHC Department of Medicine is pleased to report that Dr. James Lan, Division of Nephrology, has been named a 2021 Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) Scholar Award recipient

The MSFHR Scholar Program is designed to support early-career researchers as they establish independent research careers, form their own research teams and develop research programs that advance cutting-edge health solutions.

Dr. James Lan (Division of Nephrology)

Research Location: University of British Columbia




Implementation of a Canadian willingness to cross program: A strategy to increase access to kidney transplantation for highly sensitized patients

More than 20 percent of candidates on the kidney transplant waitlist are considered difficult to match for the already scarce resource of kidney organs. This is because their immune system has previously been activated through pregnancy, blood transfusion, or prior organ transplants to produce a broad range of antibodies that limit their chances of finding compatible donors. These “highly sensitized” patients (HSP) face prolonged wait times, reduced access to transplant, and an increased risk of death on the waitlist. The main objective of this research is to implement a first-of-its-kind Willing to Cross (WTC) program. Under this national initiative, patients will be able to be transplanted across known antibodies against donors that are deemed to be at low risk of causing rejection. This strategy is anticipated to improve the chances of receiving a transplant while maintaining good patient outcomes. In addition, the study will follow patients with two cutting-edge immune assays that have been shown to detect rejection before kidney injury occurs. Recognizing that we serve a diverse patient community with different values and beliefs, we will also evaluate patient perception and readiness to adopt this new kidney allocation system.

Working alongside Dr. Lan is Research Fellow, Dr. Davide Cina, a resident in the Department of Urological Sciences and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine who is doing a research year in Dr. Lan’s lab. Dr. Cina is the recipient of a 2021 MSFHR Trainee Award. During his residency, Davide developed a keen interest in clinical renal transplant through the high-volume renal transplant program housed at Vancouver General Hospital and Saint Paul’s Hospital. Davide’s research will develop novel tools for monitoring transplant patients’ immune systems and detecting immune rejection before kidney damage happens.

Click here to read about all of the 2021 MSFHR Scholar Award Recipients

Join us in congratulating Dr. Lan and his lab on this wonderful achievement!