New Rapid Testing and Research Laboratories at Donor Network West

(San Ramon, CA)  September 28, 2018 – Donor Network West, the organ and tissue recovery agency for northern California and Nevada, has entered a new era of discovery with the opening of a CLIA certified laboratory, specializing in rapid turnaround (STAT) infectious disease screening and serology testing, and a research laboratory to perform advanced pro-processing of tissues and cells for research. Both laboratories are located within the organization’s state-of-the-art Clinical Center.

Donor Network West currently sends blood specimens to Colorado or Los Angeles to determine the suitability of potential organ and tissue donors. The donation process hinges on the critical laboratory results and providing them in a faster manner allows for more timely matching of donor organs to waiting recipients. The new STAT facility – in partnership with VRL-Eurofins Laboratories – helps donor families by reducing their waiting time at hospitals while continuing to provide the highest quality donor testing to transplant partners.

Having a dedicated rapid testing laboratory in the California Bay Area also allows Donor Network West to collect the necessary clinical information so corneas can be approved and released for transplant sooner.

Research donations help Donor Network West advance basic and clinical research, facilitate finding new treatments for human disorders, and improve the lives of transplant recipients. The tissue samples and the clinical data that the organization collects at its Clinical Center, allow research partners to conduct clinical experiments and perform research in both academia and the industry to improve the outcomes of transplanted organs.

A team of two Research Program scientists and a research manager at Donor Network West, led by Ahmad Salehi (M.D., Ph.D), prepares the tissue samples, records clinical data, and coordinates logistics before the samples are released to researchers from the new facility, named Donor Network West Discovery Laboratory.

“Organ and tissue donation offers the hope to heal–not only in transplantation but in future discoveries made possible through research. Our new laboratories enable us to maximize the life-saving gifts that are entrusted to us so more lives can be saved,” says Sean Van Slyck, Interim CEO of Donor Network West.

Sean made his remarks at a September 11 ribbon cutting ceremony, during which the large conference room at the Clinical Center was dedicated to Donor Network West’s former CEO, Cindy Siljestrom. She was the visionary behind the creation of the Discovery Laboratory and the partnership with VRL-Eurofins Laboratories.

There are 10,600 people waiting for an organ transplant in northern California and Nevada. One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people and a tissue donor can heal more than 75 others. Anyone can register as a donor at or at the DMV.

About Donor Network West
Donor Network West saves and heals lives by facilitating organ and tissue recovery for transplantation. The organization was established in 1987, and is an official Donate Life organization accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). Federally designated to serve 40 counties in northern California and Nevada, Donor Network West partners with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the state-authorized donor registries. For information, visit and follow us on social media: @mydnwest