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Dr. David Rush Awarded 2015 Medal for Research Excellence

June 9, 2015 – For his outstanding contribution to kidney disease research, Dr. David Rush has been awarded the 2015 Kidney Foundation of Canada Medal for Research Excellence.

Dr. David Rush is Professor, Dept. of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine at the University of Manitoba, as well as Medical Director of Transplant Manitoba – Adult Renal Transplant Program, and Past Head of the Section of Nephrology in the Dept. of Internal Medicine. In addition to several teaching awards, Dr. Rush was awarded the Nadine Jenkins Distinguished Service Award by The Kidney Foundation of Canada Manitoba Branch in 2003, and The Canadian Society of Transplantation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. Dr. Rush’s work has been instrumental in moving the renal transplantation field forward.

“The Kidney Foundation of Canada is committed to supporting excellent renal research in Canada and we celebrate this annually through the Medal for Research Excellence,” according to Elisabeth Fowler, National Director of Research for the Foundation. “Dr. Rush joins an esteemed group of researchers who have received the medal since 1996, and who have been recognized both nationally and internationally for excellence in kidney research. Through their dedication to finding improved methods of diagnosis, treatment and prevention, researchers’ contributions have a tangible and positive impact in the lives of those affected by kidney disease.”

Innovative Research
Dr. Rush’s pioneering work in the use of surveillance biopsies in transplantation made him the first to report the high prevalence of subclinical rejection in renal transplant recipients. With this research, he has changed the understanding of the link between early chronic pathologic changes and long-term graft survival. Dr. Rush’s seminal work in this field has lowered the threshold for the diagnosis of rejection and had an impact on the design of clinical trials evaluating immunosuppression protocols for renal transplant patients. Dr. Rush’s work in translational medicine has also directly led to the improvement in renal allograft survival and patient care in the Transplant Manitoba-Adult Renal Program, where over 1,000 transplants have been performed to date. The international profile of his research program has led to changes in clinical practice in many transplant programs worldwide.

“Dr. Rush’s dedication to his patients and to the field of transplantation has meant the world to families living with renal failure. His leading-edge research has greatly improved outcomes for renal transplant patients giving people the ability to live life to the fullest,” said Dr. Peter Nickerson, Medical Director, Transplant Manitoba - Gift of Life Program.

Outstanding Patient Care, Mentorship and Knowledge Translation Work
Dr. Rush, Past Director of the Nephrology Training Program at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, has been a dedicated counselor to a new generation of researchers, helping them develop as independent, internationally-known investigators. His constant pursuit of excellence in all endeavours is proven, not only in his successful research, but in his teaching. During the past 30 years Dr. Rush has been nominated almost annually for awards in teaching excellence by his students.

“The University of Manitoba is proud of Dr. Rush’s groundbreaking work in the areas of renal and kidney research. His dedication and commitment to research, mentorship and teaching have led to positive changes in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of kidney disease,” Dr. Brian Postl, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences & Vice-Provost (Health Sciences), University of Manitoba. “I offer my heartfelt congratulations on this much deserved award,”

Download the full press release (pdf)

For more information contact:

Roberta Koscielny
Communications Specialist
Transplant Manitoba – Gift of Life Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre
T 204 787 1897 
Wendy Kudeba
Acting National Director, Communications & Marketing
The Kidney Foundation of Canada
T 416-735-8408






Canadian Researchers Lauded for their Work

March 31, 2015 - Two Canadians researchers have been awarded International Distinguished Medals from the National Kidney Foundation (NFK) in the United States. Dr. Adeera Levin of British Columbia and Dr. Amit Garg of Ontario were two of four medal recipients celebrated during the President’s Dinner at the 2015 Spring Clinical Meetings held in Texas last week. Dr. Adeera Levin is The Kidney Foundation of Canada 2014 Medal for Research Excellence recipient and a member of the Curriculum Task Force and Mentorship Committee for KRESENT. Dr. Garg is a recipient of biomedical research grants from The Kidney Foundation of Canada for his work related to organ donation.

The International Distinguished Medal Awards were established twenty-five years ago to honor people who have made significant contributions to the field of kidney disease whether in clinical nephrology, academia or through scientific discoveries or volunteer work for organizations such as the National Kidney Foundation.

The NKF Scientific Advisory Board nominates individuals, and then there is a vote to determine each year’s award recipients. This year, they are commending the efforts of four researchers deserving the International Distinguished Medal, two of whom are from Canada, one from Belgium and one from Australia.

IFK President Dr. Jeffrey Berns with Dr. Amit Garg
NKF President Dr. Jeffrey Berns with
Dr. Amit Garg

Adeera Levin, MD, FRCPC
Dr. Levin is a Professor of Medicine, Head of the Division of Nephrology at the University of British Columbia, and a Consultant Nephrologist at Providence Health Care/St. Paul’s Hospital, in Vancouver, Canada. She is the Executive Director of the BC Renal Agency, which oversees the care, planning, and budgets for Kidney Services in British Columbia. In this capacity, she has leveraged her epidemiological training, clinical knowledge, and health outcomes research to develop an evidence-based transparent system which enhances the care of patients across the continuum of care (from identification of CKD through dialysis, transplant, and death). She is involved in international activities across the CKD spectrum, and has served as Secretary General of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN), where she is now President-Elect. Her major research areas of interest include non-traditional risk factors for CVD in CKD patients (with particular focus on anemia, phosphate and vitamin D, and progression of CKD variability), as well as models of care. She has received numerous teaching and research awards from local and national groups. She was honored with the Canadian Society of Nephrology award for Outstanding Contributions to Canadian Nephrology (2013), and The Kidney Foundation Medal for Research Excellence (2014), and was inducted as a fellow into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. She has 268 peer-reviewed publications, numerous book chapters, and has co-edited a textbook on CKD. She serves on numerous editorial boards and reviews for major kidney and medical journals. She is the Principal Investigator on a large cohort study, CAN-PREDDICT, and holds numerous peer reviewed grants. Dr. Levin collaborates with investigators across Canada and internationally and she is the inaugural Editor-in-Chief of the new Canadian Journal of Kidney Health and Disease (CJKHD).

Amit Garg, MD, PhD, FRCPC, FACP
Dr. Garg is a Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Biostatistics at Western University, London, Ontario, Canada. He practices general nephrology at the London Health Sciences Centre (outpatient clinics and hospital service), where he also serves as the Medical Director of the Living Kidney Donor Program. Working in multi-disciplinary teams, Dr. Garg conducts clinical and health services research to improve outcomes for patients with kidney diseases, including those receiving dialysis or a kidney transplant. He also aims to improve the efficiency by which renal care is delivered. He currently serves as Director of the London Kidney Clinical Research Unit, Site Director of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) Western Facility, and Lead for the Ontario ICES Kidney, Dialysis, and Transplantation Program.

- Reprinted with permission from the National Kidney Foundation.

Don Cherry to promote organ donation on Coach's Corner this weekend

March 13, 2015 - The Cherry family are outspoken advocates for organ donation‬ and ‎kidney disease‬. To celebrate Kidney Health Month and ‪‎World Kidney Day‬, Don Cherry is encouraging hockey fans to register as organ donors and will be speaking about organ donation during Coach's Corner on Saturday.

On World Kidney Day the London Knights Hockey Club partnered with The Kidney Foundation of Canada, the Cherry family and the Multi-Organ Transplant Program at London Health Sciences Centre to promote greater awareness about organ and tissue donation. Together, all parties involved aim to educate hockey fans about organ donation in Canada and encourage those listening to register as an organ donor.

For more information:

WKD 2015 hockey game with Don Cherry
LONDON, ON - MARCH 12: Hockey Legend Don Cherry drops the ceremonial puck between Liam Maaskant #2 of the Kitchener Rangers and Max Domi #16 of the London Knights prior to play in an OHL game at Budweiser Gardens on March 12, 2015 in London, Ontario, Canada. The Rangers defeated the Knights 8-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

March is Kidney Health Month

March 11, 2015 – One in 10 Canadians has kidney disease and millions more are at risk. Throughout March – Kidney Health Month – The Kidney Foundation of Canada, its partners and volunteers work together to host awareness events aimed at raising the profile of kidney disease and organ and tissue donation.

“On Thursday March 12, we will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of World Kidney Day, a global event which draws attention to kidney health,” said Dr. Julian Midgley, President of The Kidney Foundation of Canada.  “This year’s theme, Kidney Health for All, raises awareness about the fact that not everyone is equal with regards to their personal risk for kidney disease.”

The Kidney Foundation encourages Canadians to take three simple steps during Kidney Health Month to improve the health of their kidneys:

  • Control your blood sugar level and monitor your blood pressure. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of kidney failure.
  • Eat healthy, keep your weight in check, and be active. This can reduce risk as you lower salt intake, increase fluid intake, and help prevent diabetes, heart disease and other conditions associated with kidney failure.
  • Get your kidney function checked with a simple blood test, especially if you have one or more of the following at risk factors:
    • Diabetes
    • High blood pressure
    • Family history of kidney disease
    • 55 years or older
    • Smoker
    • Obese
    • Aboriginal, Hispanic, Asian, South Asian, or African heritage

Early detection is key because kidney disease can be slowed or prevented when detected early enough. An online assessment tool is one way The Kidney Foundation helps to inform and educate Canadians about the risk factors and warning signs.

“We encourage our supporters to help friends, family members and colleagues to understand their risks to kidney health, and to make healthy decisions about their lifestyle choices,” said Dr. Midgley. “They can start their journey towards maintaining kidney health by completing The Kidney Foundation of Canada online risk assessment tool at”

Additional public awareness comes through the dedicated support of thousands of volunteers who go door-to-door during Kidney Health Month to ask for financial support during The Kidney Foundation’s annual March Drive campaign. This fundraising campaign, which helps to support the Foundation’s programs and research investments, is also an effective way for people to further spread the word about good kidney health.

Download the full press release (pdf)

Download our Facing the Facts 2015 infographic for statistics on kidney disease and organ donation in Canada:

Facing the Facts 2015 infographic (portrait)
Facing the Facts 2015 infographic (landscape)

Health Canada Approves Medication for Adults Living with ADPKD

March 5, 2015 - The Kidney Foundation of Canada is pleased to share that Health Canada has just approved JINARC™ (tolvaptan), the first treatment in Canada for patients living with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD).

JINARC™ is a twice-daily, oral medication that’s indicated to slow the progression of kidney enlargement and should help protect the kidneys from damage and failure.1

ADPKD is a genetic disorder that causes multiple cysts to form in the kidneys. It can often remain undetected due to slow progressing symptoms.2 

The Kidney Foundation of Canada is excited that new hope is here for the increasing number of people living with ADPKD in Canada.

Most ADPKD patients require treatment, and half of PKD  patients reach end-stage renal disease and require a dialysis and/or a kidney transplant by age 54.3 It also comes with an emotional burden. According to a recent survey conducted among Canadians living with ADPKD, the vast majority (85 per cent) feel that having ADPKD has had a negative impact on their quality of life and more than half (60 per cent) would like to have more control over the treatment of this disease.4*

More information on Health Canada’s approval of JINARC™ can be found here.

*Given the low incidence population and the small sample size for this hard to reach group, results should be interpreted directionally and with caution.

1 JINARC™ Canadian product monograph. Otsuka Canada Pharmaceutical Inc. Updated: February 23, 2015.
2 The Kidney Foundation of Canada. Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). Accessed January 2015. 
3 Alam, Ashan and Perrone, Ronald D. Management of ESRD in patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. Advances in Chronic Kidney Disease, Vol 17, No 2. March 2010: pp 164-172.
4 The “ADPKD – Quality of life patient study” was conducted through an online survey by Vision Critical between November 21, 2014 and February 9, 2015, with 58 Canadian adults who currently have ADPKD. A probability sample of ADPKD patients of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 13%.

Appointment of new National Director of Research

February 6, 2015 - The Kidney Foundation of Canada is very pleased to announce the appointment of Elisabeth Fowler to the position of National Director of Research, effective March 2nd, 2015. Elisabeth Fowler Ms Fowler has a very successful background in the health, research and pharmaceutical sectors, with extensive experience relevant to her new role in areas such as health research management, partnership development, public policy, marketing, and patient and volunteer engagement.
Elisabeth Fowler will arrive at The Kidney Foundation from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, where she has served the past five years as the Assistant Director of the Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health. Ms. Fowler previously spent over eight years in various positions including Partner and Vice-President Policy at World Health Strategies, and its predecessor Ward Health Strategies, which are consulting firms specializing in issues common to the pharmaceutical industry and patient groups. Ms. Fowler has also worked at Rx&D, the umbrella body for Canada’s research-based pharmaceutical companies, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson & Johnson, the Montreal YMCA, and Canadians for Health Research.


Disability Tax Credit Consultations

November 10, 2014 - As you may be aware, the Disability Tax Credit Promoter’s Restriction Act (DTCPRA), which received Royal Assent on May 29, 2014, proposes to limit the fees that a promoter may charge to complete a Disability Tax Credit (DTC) request.

Starting this month, the CRA will begin in-person and online consultations seeking the views of Canadians with disabilities and their supporting persons, promoters, tax professionals, qualified practitioners and members from the general public. This feedback will help the CRA establish regulations setting the maximum fees allowable under the Act, as well as to identify individuals who may be exempt from the Act’s reporting requirements. The CRA is also looking for suggestions on how to simplify the DTC process and clarify the steps Canadians need to take to apply for the credit.

Your participation and feedback are important to the CRA and will be essential in helping protect people with disabilities from paying excessive fees for assistance with a DTC request as well as improve the DTC process.

Find out more information and how to participate here.

Don Cherry and Terry Leon receive Kidney Foundation Awards

Sept 18, 2014 – Mississauga, Ontario – Don Cherry and Terry Leon received National Awards at The Kidney Foundation of Canada 50th Anniversary Breakfast in recognition of their outstanding commitment to raising awareness of organ donation and the importance of early risk assessment for kidney disease. Their family experiences with kidney failure are poignantly shared in the Foundation’s 50 Kidney Stories anniversary magazine.

Don Cherry – Recipient, Kidney Foundation of Canada Fund Development Award
 “On World Kidney Day in March 2013, Don Cherry donated his much-loved SUV to the Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Car Program,” says Paul Shay, National Executive Director of The Kidney Foundation of Canada. “He used his donation to raise public awareness of both the program and organ donation. Funds raised through the Kidney Car program help us spread the word about organ donation, support programs for kidney patients and fund research into kidney disease and treatments. In Ontario alone, the Kidney Car program has experienced a 38% increase in 2013 and continues to see amazing growth through 2014 thanks to Don.”

 “I am really touched by this award from The Kidney Foundation. Our family was blessed that my daughter Cindy could donate a kidney to my son Tim when he had kidney failure at age 15. Organ donation is one of the best treatments for kidney failure, yet every year Canadians die waiting for a transplant. I don’t feel I can do enough to give back for what we were lucky to receive when my son needed it most,” says Don Cherry.

Terry Leon – Recipient, Kidney Foundation of Canada Public Awareness Award
Terry Leon, CEO of Leon’s Furniture Canada, is among the first members of the Canadian business community to have “put a face to risk factors for kidney disease” by way of a public service announcement. Both his father and uncle had kidney disease and underwent dialysis treatment for kidney failure. “Terry Leon’s participation in The Kidney Foundation’s  I am One 50th Anniversary Public Service Announcement campaign, and his public acknowledgement that his father was one of the many Canadians affected by kidney disease, shows great leadership, humility and courage,” says Paul Shay. “Television stations across Canada played the Public Service Announcement nearly 2,000 times.”

 “I am honoured and grateful for this recognition but I must add that I truly believe that greater public awareness of kidney disease risk factors and a greater accent on prevention can improve kidney health outcomes,” says Terry Leon. He quickly adds with a smile, “And naturally, for those who haven’t done it yet, I strongly encourage you to take the online risk assessment at”

To learn about other Awardees, visit:

For further information, please contact:
Irene Aguzzi,, T: 1.800.361.7494, ext. 227, Cell: 514.458.5342
Wendy Kudeba,, T. 1.800.387.4474 ext. 4980, Cell: 416.735.8408

Download this press release (pdf)

International Alport Syndrome Meeting Report Published

July 15, 2014 - The 2014 International Workshop on Alport Syndrome, held in Oxford, UK in January 2014, published its report in the July issue of Kidney International. Support for this Workshop is part of The Kidney Foundation’s collaboration with  other organizations to pool resources to generate new knowledge to reduce the burden of kidney disease and raise awareness of this rare genetic condition.

“The Kidney Foundation of Canada was proud to support this workshop” says Dr. Julian Midgley, President of the Kidney Foundation and Workshop participant, “It was an important step forward in furthering research and clinical care for Alport Syndrome”.

Download the 2014 International Workshop on Alport Syndrome report

The Kidney Foundation of Canada is currently funding the following research on Alport Syndrome:

•    Dr. Judith Savige 2014 – 2015
Correction of the genetic defect in Alport Syndrome using the TALEN approach
The University of Melbourne (Aus)
(co-funded with the Alport Syndrome Foundation (US) and Pedersen Family)

•    Dr. Stefano Da Sacco 2014 - 2015
Podocyte response to injury in Alport Syndrome: an answer from human amniotic fluid kidney progenitors
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Cal.
(co-funded with the Alport Syndrome Foundation (US) and Pedersen Family)

Research on Alport Syndrome previously funded by The Kidney Foundation of Canada:

•    Dr. Oliver Gross 2013 – 2014
Nephroprotective and antifibrotic potential of Micro-RNA21 in the COL4A3 mouse model of Alport Syndrome
University Medical Centre Goettingen (Ger)
(co-funded with the Alport Syndrome Foundation (US), the Macquarie Group Foundation and the Pedersen family)

•    Dr. Christopher Licht 2012 – 2013
Eculizumab in Alport Syndrome
Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto
(co-funded with the Macquarie Group Foundation and the Pedersen family)

•    Dr. York Pei 2012 - 2013
Systems biology approach to identify novel therapeutic targets for Alport Syndrome
University Health Network, Toronto
(co-funded with the Macquarie Group Foundation and the Pedersen family)

•    Dr. Judith Savage 2013 – 2014
Derivation and characterisation of induced pluripotent stem cell lines from patients with X-linked Alport Syndrome - a model for examining mechanisms and therapies
The University of Melbourne (Aus)
(co-funded with the Alport Syndrome Foundation (US), the Macquarie Group Foundation and the Pedersen family)

Government of Canada Proposes Changes to Nutrition Information on Food Labels

July 14, 2014 - Health Canada launched a series of online public consultations on proposed changes that will improve the way nutrition information is presented on labels. The proposed label changes, such as including potassium on the nutrition facts table, reflect feedback received by Health Canada from parents and consumers during round table sessions and an online consultation in the winter 2014. 

The overall goal of the proposed changes is to provide Canadians with the nutrition information they need to make informed decisions about the foods they buy and prepare for themselves and their families.

The online consultations will run for 60 days, from July 14 to September 11, 2014.

Canadians are invited to review the proposed changes (listed below) and participate in the online consultation:

   Fact Sheet - Proposed Changes to the Look of the Nutrition Facts Table and the List of Ingredients
   Fact Sheet - New Serving Size Guidelines to Make Comparing Foods Easier
   Fact Sheet - Better Understanding the Sugar Content of Our Foods


KFOC, Pedersen Family and Partners award two new 2014 Alport Syndrome Research Grants

June 17, 2014 - The Kidney Foundation of Canada, the Pedersen Family, the Macquarie Foundation and the Alport Syndrome Fondation are pleased to announce that they have jointly awarded funding for two research projects on Alport Syndrome.

Dr. Judy Savige of the University of Melbourne and Dr. Sharon Ricardo of Monash University (Australia) were awarded $100,000 for a one-year study on Correction of the genetic defect in Alport syndrome using the TALEN approachClick here to read Dr. Savige’s and Dr. Ricardo’s full research abstract.

Dr. Stefano Da Sacco of Children's Hospital Los Angeles was awarded $100,000 for a one-year study on Podocyte response to injury in Alport Syndrome: an answer from human amniotic fluid kidney progenitors. Click here to read Dr. Da Sacco's full research abstract.

Dr. Adeera Levin Awarded Kidney Foundation of Canada’s 2014 Medal for Research Excellence

June 2, 2014 – For her outstanding accomplishments in kidney disease research, Dr. Adeera Levin has been awarded the 2014 Kidney Foundation of Canada Medal for Research Excellence. Dr. Levin, a nephrologist and researcher at St. Paul’s Hospital, Providence Health Care, and the University of British Columbia, is the first BC researcher to receive this award. Recently named President (2015 to 2017) of the International Society of Nephrology, she is the second woman and first Canadian ever elected to this post. She is also the inaugural editor of the new Canadian Journal of Kidney Health and Disease (CJKHD), an open-access scholarly publication and the first of its kind to serve the Canadian nephrology community.

Innovative Research 
Dr. Levin’s research has focused on the early development of kidney disease and its association with other conditions, particularly cardiovascular disease (CVD). Her description of unique abnormalities in the physiology of kidney patients with CVD such as remarking the presence of anemia and abnormal levels of vitamin D, phosphate and parathyroid hormone (PTH), was novel and resulted in a series of basic research collaborations to better understand the biology of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and CVD.

As lead investigator of the  Prediction of Death, Dialysis and Interim Cardiovascular Events (CanPREDDICT) study, a large pan-Canadian project, she seeks to understand the factors leading to renal and cardiovascular disease progression in CKD patients. This new translational program, a first for nephrology in Canada, will study the genetic information (genotype) and observable characteristics (phenotype) of 2,500 patients.

Outstanding Patient Care, Mentorship and Knowledge Translation Work
Head of the Division of Nephrology at the University of British Columbia and Executive Director of the BC Renal Agency, Dr. Levin has leveraged her epidemiological training, clinical knowledge and health outcomes research to develop an evidence-based system that enhances the care of patients across the continuum of care, from diagnosis to treatment.

“Dr. Adeera Levin has always emphasized the importance of collaboration and evidence-based medicine, and its acquisition when it is lacking, to guide patient care or health care resource allotment,” says Dr. Michelle Hladunewich, Head of the Divisions of Obstetric Medicine and Nephrology at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. “Her collaborative spirit is most notable. It extends beyond her countless trainees to the many young investigators across Canada, introducing them to international opportunities.”

Dr. Levin is Chair of both the national Curriculum Task Force for the Kidney Research Scientist Core Education and National Training (KRESCENT) program, where she mentors promising young researchers, and of the Knowledge User group of the Canadian Kidney Knowledge Translation and Generation Network (CANN-NET), where she coordinates pan-Canadian studies in CKD. She also chaired the Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) CKD Work group, responsible for the updated 2012 diagnostic and treatment guidelines. Dr. Levin has authored over 200 peer-reviewed publications, numerous book chapters and co-edited a text book on chronic kidney disease.

Download the press release


March is Kidney Health Month: Are You at Risk for Kidney Disease?

Take 10 Minutes to Find Out

March 13, 2014 – This March, Kidney Health Month, The Kidney Foundation of Canada is launching a free Online Risk Assessment tool for kidney disease at and a new public service announcement (PSA) to help raise awareness. The PSA features Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson, whose family has suffered from conditions that cause kidney disease.

“During the Kidney Foundation’s 50th anniversary year, we’re taking extra steps to empower individuals to actively engage in their kidney health care,” says Paul Shay, the charity’s National Executive Director. ”Thanks to celebrity spokesperson Alex Lifeson’s participation in a new public service announcement, we are able to help raise awareness of the risk factors for kidney disease. Canadians will also have a health information e-tool at their fingertips and a printed risk assessment they can share with their healthcare provider – crucial resources for their kidney health management.”

In many cases, kidney disease can be prevented or managed and kidney failure avoided. When kidney disease is inevitable, as is the case with some genetic forms, finding out early can make the difference between life and death.

Download the full press release (pdf)



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