Investigator-Initiated Clinical Trials

Hematology Research makes global impact

The CCMB Chiron Hematology research team, led by Dr. Zarychanski, hematologist and Senior Scientist at the Institute, is comprised of physician investigators and over 20 team members who collectively evaluate strategies to improve the lives of patients with cancer and blood disorders. They are one of the most productive research teams in the province and their novel methods and research findings have helped establish best practices in Manitoba and around the world. In addition to conducting high-impact research, the team is committed to training the next generation of clinical scientists who will investigate therapies to improve outcomes for patients with cancer and blood disorders.

Investigator-initiated clinical trials in hematology have reached what promises to be an exciting next phase in its history at CancerCare Manitoba. The group leads national and international clinical trials evaluating therapies to improve outcomes for patients with cancer and life-threatening blood disorders.

A large international trial, ATTACC-CAP, is repurposing a blood thinning agent (heparin) in patients with lung infection (pneumonia). The team developed and led a global trial that showed treatment with heparin improved survival and prevented severe infection when given to hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Knowing that pneumonia is the most common cause of infection in patients with cancer, the team received federal funding to investigate whether heparin will improve survival and prevent critical illness in this vulnerable patient population. The trial will begin in April 2023 and will enroll patients in Manitoba and around the world.

A trial called TRACTION is evaluating the ability of an inexpensive drug (tranexamic acid) to reduce bleeding and the need for blood transfusion in approximately 8000 patients undergoing major surgery in Manitoba and Ontario. When completed, TRACTION will be the largest Canadian-led clinical trial involving oncology patients ever conducted.

A pan-Canadian, Manitoba-led trial called PLEXSIS, is studying plasmapheresis in patients with severe infection. Plasmapheresis is a specialized hematology procedure performed by CancerCare doctors where a patient’s abnormal plasma is exchanged with healthy donor plasma. The PLEXSIS trial aims to provide effective therapy to help patients recover from a life-threatening infection.

Another Manitoba-led multi-centre Canadian trial, MYELOCAN, is evaluating therapies in patients with blood cancers such as myelodysplastic syndrome and acute leukemia. Using novel research methods the trial will initially study therapies to reduce bleeding and infection among patients with blood cancers undergoing chemotherapy then will expand to additional therapies to improve patient-prioritized outcomes and quality of life.

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