PRINCE GEORGE, BC--(Marketwired - February 02, 2017) - Mining for Miracles, the BC mining industry's longstanding fundraising campaign for BC Children's Hospital Foundation, launched their 2017 campaign yesterday to develop the TRAnsplantation & CEll Therapy Program (TRACE), the first of its kind in Canada. Premier Christy Clark joined BC mining industry representatives to launch this year's fundraising campaign.
"Mining for Miracles is one of the best illustrations of the crucial role BC's mining industry plays in our economy, supporting families and communities in every corner of our province," said Premier Clark. "By raising more than $26 million for BC Children's Hospital, mining isn't just creating jobs -- it's creating hope."
"The BC mining community is made up of people who care," said Minister Bill Bennett. "It's been an honour for me to participate in the Mining for Miracles initiative and I thank the hundreds of people who've made these miracles happen."
In 2017 and 2018, Mining for Miracles will raise approximately $2.9 million to support the development of TRACE. TRACE will work towards providing children across British Columbia with personalized medicine using the patient's own cells to prevent rejection of organ transplants, kill cancer cells and fight infection.
"At BC Children's Hospital our outstanding team of clinicians, scientists, trainees and staff are striving to develop and deliver the best therapies and diagnostic methods for our kids," says Dr. Wyeth Wasserman, Executive Director, BC Children's Hospital Research Institute. "The support of Mining for Miracles will accelerate our efforts in realizing the enormous promise of transplantation and cellular therapies, helping BC Children's Hospital to become a leader in this exciting field."
"Every year thousands of women and men across the mining industry come together to raise funds to support important child health initiatives in BC," said Jeff Hanman, co-Chair of Mining for Miracles. "BC miners are proud to give back to their communities and province and help ensure our province has world class children's health care," added Joanne Klein, co-Chair of Mining for Miracles.
Mining for Miracles funding will establish two state of the art facilities for the TRACE program, giving children in British Columbia access to the best and most current cell therapies and enabling BC Children's Hospital and its Research Institute to develop new and better cell therapy and transplantation technologies.
Once complete, the TRACE Program will:
- Help 40-50 children with kidney transplants each year, extending transplant function and saving lives
- Help 250 children living with organ and bone marrow transplants in BC, by replacing invasive biopsies with innovative blood and urine screening tests, reducing pain and decreasing risk of organ rejection
- Provide a new form of treatment for children with relapsed leukemia that has been effective in over 90% of cases in clinical trials
- Position BC Children's Hospital as a leader in clinical cell therapies, transplantation and research into new treatments for cancer and diabetes
The success of Mining for Miracles in funding initiatives like TRACE at BC Children's Hospital depends on the generosity of individuals and corporations throughout British Columbia. Donations can be made through employee and corporate fundraising initiatives or through fundraising events such as Jeans Day™, Diamond Draw, Slo-Pitch Tournament, Hooked on Miracles fishing tournament, or the Teck Celebrity Pie Throw, taking place on May 18, 2017.
Visit www.miningformiracles.ca for more information and to donate.
About Mining for Miracles
Every year volunteers from the mining community work together through Mining for Miracles to help improve the quality of health care for children in our province. Through its support of the construction of facilities and acquisition of specialized medical equipment at the hospital, Mining for Miracles is helping to keep BC Children's Hospital at the forefront of excellence in pediatric care. Visit www.miningformiracles.ca for more information and to donate.
Through Mining for Miracles support, TRACE will establish two state of the art facilities, a Translational Biomarker Facility and a Clinical Cell Therapy Facility.
Translational Biomarker Facility
- A first of its kind in Canada, the facility will be dedicated to innovative monitoring of patients undergoing organ transplantation or cell therapy.
- The facility will allow physicians to better predict when a child is at risk of developing infection, late complications or transplant rejection.
- Earlier identification allows clinicians to provide treatment to minimize risk, improve health and save children's lives.
As an example, a child who has received a kidney transplant currently needs multiple biopsies to screen for early signs of rejection. This is an invasive process that requires deep sedation and a hospital stay. With the establishment of the Translational Biomarker Facility, it is anticipated that in the near future, a simple urine test will become a first line of surveillance to understand if the transplanted organ is at risk of being rejected.
Clinical Cell Therapy Facility
- Cell therapies offer exciting approaches that, for example, utilize the patient's own immune cells to kill cancer cells and stop viral infections.
- Currently, children in British Columbia can only access this treatment in the US at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- Will provide a new treatment for children with relapsed leukemia that has been effective in over 90% of cases in clinical trials.
The infrastructure enabled by the TRACE Program, will give children and families access to the best and most current therapies available. It will also enable BC Children's Hospital Research Institute to become a leader in cell therapies and transplantation for children in BC.
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