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Ontario Expanding Storage and Distribution System for Tissue Transplants

News Release

Ontario Expanding Storage and Distribution System for Tissue Transplants

New Services to Make Ontario a National Leader

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Ontario is expanding the province's system for preparing, storing and distributing donated tissue to better serve patients who need skin, heart valve, bone and connective tissue transplants.

Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan, and Michael Gravelle, MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North, made the announcement today on behalf of Dr. Helena Jaczek, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

The province, through its donation and transplant agency Trillium Gift of Life Network, is partnering with the non-profit Lake Superior Centre for Regenerative Medicine (RegenMed) to expand the tissue processing system. As part of the new system, RegenMed will handle the preparation, storage and distribution of all tissue donated in Ontario to be used for transplants.

To accommodate the new system, RegenMed will create 27 new jobs in northern Ontario and three in Toronto, with roles in processing, quality assurance, distribution and innovation. They will also expand and renovate their current office in Thunder Bay.

This change is part of a larger provincial tissue system transformation recommended in the 2014 Tissue Banking in Ontario Report to Trillium Gift of Life Network. The new system, once fully implemented, will help to meet the demand for tissue from hospitals across the province and will also help position Ontario as a leader in Canada for transplant-ready tissue.

Ontario's plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation

Quick Facts

  • A tissue bank is a specialized facility where human tissue is processed, preserved and stored for future use in transplants or research. Once processed, tissue can be stored for as long as five years.
  • Surgeries involving tissue transplants – such as skin, eyes, bone, heart valves, tendons, and ligaments – take place at several Ontario hospitals. Each hospital imports tissue based on their needs.
  • Ontario’s investment in expanding RegenMed is expected to generate almost $10 million in economic activity for architects, engineers and contractors in the province.
  • The Ontario government is promoting fairness, opportunity and inclusive growth in northern Ontario through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC). Since 2013, the NOHFC has approved over $621 million in funding for over 3,800 projects to create over 15,300 jobs and leverage more than $2.1 billion in investment.

Additional Resources

Quotes

Dr. Helena Jaczek

“Our government is improving patient care by making Ontario’s tissue processing system more integrated and cohesive. This change not only supports patients, the province’s hospitals and the Trillium Gift of Life Network, but will also create 30 new jobs in northern Ontario and Toronto.”

Dr. Helena Jaczek

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

Bill Mauro

“I’m extremely grateful that Thunder Bay and the Lake Superior Centre for Regenerative Medicine (RegenMed) have been selected by our government and the Trillium Gift of Life Network to host a provincial tissue bank. Today’s investment is the culmination of a lot of hard work and advocacy, and it is exciting news for our community and RegenMed. In addition to creating 30 jobs, this announcement also highlights our government’s commitment to economic development in Northwestern Ontario.”

Bill Mauro

MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan

Michael Gravelle

“Today's announcement is the culmination of many years of hard work by RegenMed and is a tremendous investment in‎ Thunder Bay's medical community. I am proud to see their innovation recognized by the Province, particularly as their work will be to the benefit of all Ontarians.”

Michael Gravelle

MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North

“We’re very pleased RegenMed has been chosen to be Ontario’s Consolidated Multi-Tissue Processing Centre! While already processing Ontario’s Musculoskeletal tissues, we’re elated to bring Skin and Heart Valve processing to Thunder Bay. We thank the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for having confidence in us to steward this significant improvement of Ontario’s health care system. Our vision is to save and improve lives through the advancement of regenerative therapies … the opportunity to help many more people has become a reality today.”

David Stezenko

Executive Director, RegenMed

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