Research Partnerships

Canadian National Transplant Research Program (CNTRP)

The liver is the 2nd most transplanted organ in Canada. With an increase in liver diseases such as fatty liver disease and liver cancer, and with an aging population of people who may have progressive chronic liver disease, the need for liver transplantation is on the rise in Canada.

The Canadian Liver Foundation (CLF) applauds Canadians and their families who have chosen to offer the gift of life to others through organ donation, however, there are still too few donor organs available to offer to the hundreds of Canadians on the liver transplant waiting list. Sadly, this lack of available donor organs means that many Canadians will die while waiting for a much-needed liver transplant.

With such a critical shortage of organs, it is vital to ensure that every liver transplant has the best possible outcomes and research holds the key. To demonstrate our commitment to improving liver health through research and education, the CLF is proud to be a partner with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) in support of the Canadian National Transplant Research Program (CNTRP).

The objective of this program is to enhance the survival and quality of life of Canadians who undergo transplantation, through multi-disciplinary, collaborative and leading-edge research. Led by Dr. Lori West of the University of Alberta, the CNTRP connects more than 200 scientists, students, collaborators, patient partners and knowledge-users at 30 sites throughout Canada to carry out research and develop resources to increase access to transplantation and improve survival and quality of life of transplant patients..

The goals for this research on stem cell and solid organ transplant (including liver transplant) are to:
1.    Increase the number of transplants
2.    Extend the life of transplant patients
3.    Improve the quality of life of transplant patients
4.    Develop and enhance training for transplant specialists and researchers
5.    Develop and coordinate a collaborative transplant network
6.    Enhance transplantation data management systems

The CNTRP is supported through the CIHR with $11.25 million plus additional funding from six CIHR partners, including the CLF, of $2.6 million, for a total of $13.85 million. The CNTRP has raised an additional $9.5 million in support from academia, industry, and provincial organ procurement organizations, for a total of $23 million for this transplant research program.

This concentrated focus on improving transplantation through research is an incredible investment in the lives of Canadians who have diseases which have progressed to a point where a transplant may be the only hope for survival. On behalf of all Canadians with or at-risk of liver diseases which may one day progress to the need for a liver transplant, the CLF is honoured to be a partner and a supporter of this research program.

For more information on this program, please visit

If you would like to make a donation to support CLF liver transplant research, please click here or contact Karen Seto at or 1-800-563-5483 x 4939.

Canadian Network on Hepatitis C (CanHepC)

The Canadian Network on Hepatitis C (CanHepC) is a collaborative research network dedicated to research linking over 100 researchers, trainees, knowledge-users (community representatives, policy and decision makers) in the field of hepatitis C from across Canada and internationally.

The goal is to conduct innovative and interdisciplinary research, build research capacity, and translate evidence for uptake into practice and policy, to improve hepatitis C prevention and health outcomes of Canadians and contribute to the global effort to reduce hepatitis C burden worldwide, by focusing on the following themes:

PREVENTION – To improve strategies and interventions to reduce hepatitis C incidence and ultimately prevalence in the Canadian population.

TREATMENT – To enhance strategies to improve treatment access, uptake, adherence, and short and long-term outcomes.

OUTCOMES – To generate evidence-based data on health outcomes of people living with hepatitis C to guide decision making. 

Another major goal of the CanHepC is enhanced training of the next generation of highly qualified personnel. CanHepC recruits and provides support and training to graduate, post-doctoral students and MDs who have demonstrated excellence early in their careers. The training program employs the knowledge and experience of mentors across Canada from multiple disciplines that have played a major role in recent advances in hepatitis C research and their ability to train excellent researchers.

For more information on this program, its mentor and participants, please visit the CanHepC website.

Canadian Network for Autoimmune Liver Disease (CaNAL)

Established in March 2017 through a partnership between the University of Alberta, University of Calgary and University Health Network (affiliated with University of Toronto), the Canadian Network for Autoimmune Liver Disease (CaNAL) represents a major landmark in Canadian research for autoimmune liver disease. 

To generate significant research impact for the benefit of the patient and develop maximum understanding of the disease, data from many patients is needed.  Because autoimmune liver diseases are uncommon, nationwide collaboration across centres in Canada is essential.

CaNAL will enable several centres and patients to participate in research studies, and will help researchers effectively share and combine data to achieve the following objectives:

1. Develop a Canadian registry of Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC) and Autoimmune Hepatitis (AIH) patients.
2. Identify clinical endpoints of end stage liver disease. 
3. Investigate the clinical variants of PBC. 
4. Determine differences in gender/race/ethnicity and clustering of PBC and AIH in aboriginal populations.  
5. Analyze biochemical markers and other factors indicative of early recurrence of PBC and AIH following liver transplantation.

Supported by the partners and by supporters including the Canadian Liver Foundation, CaNAL represents the first national registry of patients with autoimmune liver disease, and provides a powerful platform for much-needed research. 

To make a donation in support of liver health research, click here.