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Home » Advocacy » Canadian MPN Research Foundation Aims to Find a Cure for Progressive Blood Cancers

Dr. Vikas Gupta

Director – Elizabeth & Tony Comper MPN Program, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre & Professor, University of Toronto

When someone says blood cancer, you may immediately think of leukemia, but there are many types of blood cancer that aren’t as well-known. For those living with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), these serious cancers are very real and often incurable.

MPNs are progressive blood cancers in which the bone marrow typically overproduces one or more types of blood cell. The three most common classical MPNs are polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia, and myelofibrosis.

With stem cell research and the discovery of key gene markers, there have been significant advances in the diagnosis, understanding, and treatment of MPNs, but there are still no known cures for most of these cancers. 

The Canadian MPN Research Foundation is on a mission to change that. Founded in 2018 by Executive Director Cheryl Petruk, the organization has a single goal: to stimulate and fund original and ongoing research in pursuit of new treatments and eventually a cure for MPNs. Cheryl became an advocate for the MPN community when she began caring for her late husband.

It’s unimaginably devastating to be diagnosed with an incurable blood cancer.

Dr. Vikas Gupta

The dedicated members of the board each have very personal and committed ties to the foundation’s mission. They seek to support MPN research projects in centres across Canada, including at the Elizabeth and Tony Comper MPN Program at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, which is exploring novel treatment, models of care, and education strategies. 

“It’s unimaginably devastating to be diagnosed with an incurable blood cancer,” says Dr. Vikas Gupta, who leads the clinical research team. Patients with MPNs have a heavy symptom burden which affects their day-to-day life. Several of the complications related to MPNs such as thrombosis, are preventable. “That’s why we’re working so hard to make significant strides in our understanding and treatment of these progressive cancers,” says Dr. Gupta. “The funding we’ve received so far has helped us start our journey, but we have a long way to go. With the support from funding partners, we’ll continue to work hard towards our goal of finding a cure.”

With newly-formed organizations like the Canadian MPN Research Foundation, as well as others dedicated to helping those with serious cancers such as Heal Canada, patients and their loved ones have more resources than ever to help them navigate life with blood cancer.  

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