The Canadian Apheresis Group (CAG) was formed in 1980 under the auspices of National Health and Welfare, Canada. The group includes representatives from more than 42 apheresis units in 19 major medical centres in Canada. Our procedures include plasma exchange, column absorption and cytapheresis including stem cell and lymphocyte collections as well as red cell exchanges.
Each year we do more than 10,000 plasma exchange procedures using plasma, albumin and crystalloids as the replacement fluids. As such, we use more than 10% of the plasma collected in the country. In 2023, we did over 1800 stem cell collections, more autologous than allogeneic, for more than 178 different diagnosis.
Since its inception, the CAG has been involved in the organization and direction of many randomized controlled studies in apheresis. In addition, the CAG has maintained a registry by collecting information on all apheresis procedures.
The Canadian Apheresis Group was one of the five founding members of the World Apheresis Association (WAA) in 1986. The WAA, an umbrella organization for national and international professional societies devoted to all aspects of apheresis, now represents 19 member societies around the globe.
At the annual meeting the CAG focuses on new evidence and techniques for apheresis. We also carry out a data review. In these reviews the physicians are asked to comment on the data. All attendees address the feasibility of creating a future pilot or randomized study. The database is very helpful as a basis for deciding on the need for new trials. Adverse events are reported and discussed.
Gail Rock, PhD MD FRCP
Chair, Canadian Apheresis Group