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History and Goals

History of CALIPER

The CALIPER project was initiated by clinical chemists/medical biochemists from the Pediatric Focus Group of the Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists (CSCC). These clinical chemists and medical biochemists supervise clinical chemistry laboratories in Canada and are board certified through the Canadian Academy of Clinical Biochemistry (CACB).

The issue of the critical gaps that exist in paediatric reference intervals has been a major concern of the CSCC Pediatric Focus Group as well as paediatricians across Canada.

With funding from CIHR (Institute of Child Development and Youth), three workshops were held from 2004 to 2006 to initiate discussions among paediatric hospital laboratories on the establishment of new laboratory reference interval databases for biomarkers of paediatric disease.

This expert group recommended that the large paediatric institutions initiate collaborative studies to determine the effect of age, gender, and ethnic origin on paediatric reference intervals and establish a comprehensive database for Canadian children and adolescents. The expert group named this national initiative the CALIPER (Canadian Laboratory Initiative on Pediatric Reference Intervals) project.

Following these meetings, three paediatric centres in Ontario obtained Research Ethics Board approval for the CALIPER initiative and began the collection phase of the project using hospital internal resources and seed funding.

Led by the CALIPER group at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), in collaboration with CALIPER centres across Canada, standard procedures for sample collection, sample analysis, and statistical analysis were developed.

The Goal of the CALIPER Project

The main objective of the CALIPER project is to develop a database of reference intervals of blood tests for the whole paediatric population from birth to 18 years of age.

The database contains reference intervals specific to age, sex, and will eventually be made specific to ethnic background, analytical platform, and other physiological parameters (e.g. Tanner stage, BMI), if a particular analyte is significantly affected by any of the parameters.

Future CALIPER Goals

  • Future projects include the establishment of age and sex-specific reference intervals for markers of haematology and coagulation, as well as testing urine for urine analytes.
  • Current reference interval partitions will be expanded to include a wider set of ethnic groups and other physiological parameters, such as Tanner stage and BMI.
  • The CALIPER project will also continue transference of reference intervals to all major instrument platforms in use in children’s hospitals and establish separate reference intervals if transference is not possible.