Glimpsing the future of our most valuable health resource

Award winner outlines the future of blood donations

 

Montreal May 24, 2013 — Few procedures save lives more consistently than blood transfusions. Whether it is an accident victim who has suffered major trauma or a hemophiliac in need of vital clotting agents, blood products remain among the most precious and effective commodities to be found in modern medicine.

Yet in spite of the great value that blood offers to the medical community, the fundamental method of collecting it has not changed in a century. We remain dependent on the largesse of individual donors, who offer it from their own bodies. It is a cumbersome approach, one that is further complicated by the distinction among blood types, further restricting the supply for patients who must be compatible with certain donors.

Researchers have long dreamt of a better means of providing blood, a goal that is tantalizingly within reach. Researchers in France have demonstrated the viability of red blood cells grown under laboratory conditions, which survived and thrived after being injected into patients. This accomplishment opens up the possibility that blood products could be produced in large quantities, on demand, without the need to tap the veins of living donors.

This prospect was among the many facets of contemporary blood research offered by Marine Corniou in “Du sang pour tous, tout le temps”, an article that appeared in the April/May 2012 edition of the magazine Quebec Science. The piece is being honoured with this year’s Sanofi Pasteur Medal of Excellence in Health Research Journalism.

“Blood is a potent symbol of human health, something packed with cultural significance as well as overwhelming practical importance,” says CHR president, Patricia Guyda. “Corniou gives us a remarkable perspective on this subject and guides us through some challenging research initiatives that have implications for everyone.”

This year an Honourable Mention award will also go to Radio-Canada journalist Jean-François Bouthillette, for “La misère dans les genes”, which aired on the science and medicine program Les années lumière. His work examined the exploration of how genes and environment interact in ways that can profoundly affect the intellectual and emotional development of children. This research includes following the lives of young people, with the aim of understanding the combinations of nature and nature and nurture that can lead some of them into lives defined by anti-social and criminal behavior.

CHR launched the Sanofi Pasteur Medal of Excellence in Health Research Journalism in 1995, and administers the selection process. Sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur Ltd., Canada's premier vaccine company, the inaugural medal recipient was Globe and Mail science reporter Stephen Strauss for his longstanding contribution to promoting public awareness of science. Other recent awardees include Mark Whitten for his work in Homemakers magazine and Hannah Hoag for an article in the Montreal Gazette.

“As a company that is built on nearly a century of science, Sanofi Pasteur is pleased to be associated with this prestigious award that recognizes excellence in science journalism,” says Nancy Simpson, Director, Communications at Sanofi Pasteur Canada.

As part of the award, Comiou will receive a plaque and a $2,500 bursary on June 7, 2013, during the Canadian Science Writers’ Association annual general meeting at Concordia University in Montreal.

 

Canadians for Health Research (CHR) is a nonprofit organization committed to promoting the stability and quality of Canadian health research.  It fosters communication between health researchers, the government and the Canadian public, and publishes a quarterly magazine entitled Future Health.  For more information, or to become a member, please visit the CHR website at http://www.chrcrm.org.

 

About Sanofi

Sanofi, an integrated global healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients’ needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, consumer healthcare, emerging markets, animal health and the new Genzyme. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, provides more than 1 billion doses of vaccine each year, making it possible to immunize more than 500 million people across the globe. A world leader in the vaccine industry, Sanofi Pasteur offers the broadest range of vaccines protecting against 20 infectious diseases. The company's heritage, to create vaccines that protect life, dates back more than a century. Sanofi Pasteur is the largest company entirely dedicated to vaccines. Every day, the company invests more than EUR 1 million in research and development. For more information, please visit: www.sanofipasteur.com or www.sanofipasteur.ca

 

For more information, please contact:

 

Cindy Collin                                                     Nancy Simpson                      

CHR                                                                Director, Communications

Montreal, QC                                                  Sanofi Pasteur Limited

                                                                        Toronto, Ontario

514-398-7478                                                  416-667-2955

ccollin@chrcrm.org                                         nancy.simpson@sanofipasteur.com