Newswise — ​​​(August 6, 2014: Toronto) Thanks to a generous gift of $2.4 million from Elizabeth and Tony Comper, the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre will establish the Myeloproliferative Neoplasm Program (MPN); the first of its kind in Canada.

Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) are stem cell disorders affecting blood and bone marrow in which there is uncontrolled production of blood cells. Patients with MPNs can transform to an aggressive form of leukemia, also known as acute myeloid leukemia. On June 22, 2014, Elizabeth Comper passed away from this disease. While receiving compassionate and conscientious care under the guidance of Dr. Vikas Gupta, it was her wish, in tandem with her husband of 43 years, Tony Comper, to make a difference for those suffering from MPNs by establishing a program to support MPNs and to discover new strategies.

Tony Comper joined BMO (Bank of Montreal) in 1967 and progressed through the organization to become Chief Executive Officer of the BMO Financial Group in 1999. In 2010, Elizabeth and Tony Comper were made Members of the Order of Canada for their commitment to the community at large as active volunteers and philanthropists.

Mr. Comper stated, "The MPN class of diseases, of which my wife Elizabeth suffered from the rarest of the three classes of these, needs dedicated support for patients, to provide research and other resources to understand and develop treatment and solutions."

This very generous gift is key in developing a state-of-the-art MPN Program at The Princess Margaret. The Elizabeth and Tony Comper MPN Program will become a centre of excellence in MPN research and patient care, both nationally and internationally, with an aim to bring together Canadian cancer centres to make MPN patient care and research a nationwide priority. The MPN Program at The Princess Margaret will follow a sustainable, research-oriented and shared-care model, including monitoring, exchanging patient data, and sharing skills and knowledge among specialists and allied health personnel.

Dr. Vikas Gupta said, "There are very few programs dedicated to rare blood disorders such as MPNs. The Elizabeth and Tony Comper MPN Program at The Princess Margaret will be the first such program in Canada. The mission is to advance basic, translational and clinical research leading to improved outcomes of these disorders. The program will serve as a national resource, and a referral center for providing the consultative and management services for the care of MPN patients."

Paul Alofs, President & CEO of The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, commented, "We are so appreciative of the generosity of Elizabeth and Tony Comper. Their investment in The Elizabeth and Tony Comper MPN Program is much-needed, and an example of how The Princess Margaret is leading the way in Personalized Cancer Medicine."

For more information about the Elizabeth and Tony Comper MPN Program at The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, contact:

Christina LebesisPhone: 416 946 2138Email​: [email protected]

​About Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre has achieved an international reputation as a global leader in the fight against cancer and delivering Personalized Cancer Medicine. The Princess Margaret, one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world, is a member of the University Health Network, which also includes Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. All are research hospitals affiliated with the University of Toronto.

About The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation at University Health Network raises funds for one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world, the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, which includes The Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute and The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research.