Dr. Quinn Grundy awarded Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Partnership Engage grant

24 September 2020

Bloomberg Nursing Assistant Professor Quinn Grundy received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Engage grant for her project “The politics of clinical trials in a pandemic and the role of blood collection agencies in developing a treatment for COVID-19”.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of clinical trials are currently ongoing to evaluate the effectiveness of convalescent plasma derived from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19. Globally, the majority of clinical trials are sponsored and conducted by the pharmaceutical industry. Industry sponsorship of clinical trials and commercialization of medical research is associated with systemic biases in the scientific literature, safety risks stemming from lack of access to proprietary data, inequities in access to patented treatments, and the unethical treatment of research participants. Pandemic conditions have exacerbated many of these issues as clinical trials struggle with recruitment, adherence to strict and rigorous protocols, and significant economic and political pressures

As a licensed plasma collector for transfusible plasma and the National blood operator (outside Quebec), Canadian Blood Services has a unique role in several nationally and internationally coordinated clinical trials. 

Co-leading the project with social scientists at Canadian Blood Services, Dr. Grundy will conduct a mixed-methods study of clinical trials of convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19 to answer: 

  • What is the nature and range of partnerships involving blood collection agencies in clinical trials for convalescent plasma internationally? 
  • What are key challenges and best practices related to clinical trials governance from the perspective of Canadian Blood Services? 
  • What are the values and perspectives of COVID-19 convalescent plasma donors in relation to clinical trials governance? 

Dr. Grundy’s project will generate critical knowledge to explore the experiences and key challenges faced by Canadian Blood Services related to when and how to partner with a variety of actors within the clinical trials landscape. Findings from the study will inform the development of clinical trials governance policies, processes, and protocols at Canadian Blood Services aimed at ensuring research integrity, public accountability, and equitable allocation of plasma products. We will also explore how CBS leverages its credibility, expertise and resources to recruit donors for clinical trials.

Dr. Grundy and co-investigators aim to develop best practices for clinical trials governance in blood collection agencies, particularly in the context of a pandemic. 

Published September 24, 2020