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Families, Volunteers and Community

What is CALIPER?

CALIPER is a multi-centre collaboration between several children's hospitals in cities across Canada, including Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Montreal, St. John’s, Saskatoon and Vancouver. The purpose of the project is to establish a current and accurate database of reference intervals (normal values) that represent Canada’s children and youth—multi-ethnic males and females from birth to 18 years of age. The database will be used by physicians for the interpretation of common blood tests.

The project was initially established by a Canadian team of investigators as a key project of the Paediatric Focus Group of the Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists (CSCC). CALIPER has been endorsed by the CSCC and has been approved by the research ethics boards of a number of major Canadian hospitals.

Why is it necessary?

In order to deliver the best possible healthcare to children and adolescents, we must be able to accurately and reliably interpret laboratory test results. The task of interpretation requires reference intervals—a range of values that inform doctors of the test results that would usually be observed in normal, healthy children. By comparing a set of test results to a reference interval, doctors can more accurately identify and diagnose medical issues. Physicians use reference intervals every day in their practice.

Right now, the only intervals that are available for certain tests are based on studies done in adults. However, the normal ranges for adult test results are rarely the same as those found in children and adolescents. As children grow and develop many test results change, and this should be reflected in the ranges that we use. Besides this, the results of certain tests may not be the same for males and females or for children from different ethnic origin groups. These factors should all be taken into account when establishing guidelines for what “normal” is.

What are the benefits?

As a result of this ongoing project, we have developed reference intervals for almost 100 different test results. With more than 15 papers published on the subject and numerous posters and lectures presented to the scientific community, CALIPER has accomplished many of its research goals.

How to participate

We’re glad your interest in CALIPER has brought you here and we’re excited to have you as a member of the team! There is still much more to be done and your help is invaluable. If you are interested in donating your time and energy to the project, please follow the links below to find out more:

Children and families
Volunteers
Schools and community partners