Thunder Bay’s bone and tissue bank, RegenMed, wants to be part of a Canada-wide tissue-banking system being proposed by Canadian Blood Services — but the idea is making at least one city leader nervous.
At a recent city council meeting, Councillor Larry Hebert had some cautionary words for the Lake Superior Centre for Regenerative Medicine, which hopes to be a big player in the proposed national tissue-banking network.
Hebert said Canadian Blood Services (CBS) doesn't have a good track record in the city.
"They sort of left town and left no options for plasma donors to donate in the area," Hebert said.
"They're not even having travelling clinics. If people … are wary because CBS may leave, then they may be reluctant to make that commitment."
CBS is recommending three or four nationally-integrated facilities, but has said it's too early to say where the tissue bank sites would be or even what role it would play in a national system.
Potential for more jobs
RegenMed board chair Judy Sander said she's not concerned, however.
"We're going to have to create Canadian capacity, so I think there's less of a threat that CBS will sort of do this outsourcing business when it comes to tissue supply," she said.
"One thing's very clear … there's a will from all levels of government that we need to shift away from this dependency on U.S. supply."
Sander noted belonging to a national system would mean more high-skilled jobs for Thunder Bay.
Currently, there is no national network or system for bone and tissue donation in Canada. Each province manages its own supply.