Toronto (June 4, 2012) - Dr. Robert Bell, President and CEO ofThe Sprott Department of Surgery at UHN Image University Health Network (UHN), and Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, Surgeon-in-Chief, UHN, today announced a $25-million gift from The Sprott Foundation in support of the Department of Surgery at UHN. This represents the largest private contribution to a Department of Surgery in Canada, and one of the largest in UHN's history.

"Today marks a pivotal day in surgical care, not only here at UHN, but in operating rooms around the world," said Dr. Keshavjee. "The Sprott Foundation's investment will build on UHN's proud history of surgical world firsts and create a one-of-a-kind centre for surgical innovation. The Sprott Department of Surgery at UHN will provide the best surgical care in a state-of-the-art and compassionate environment, while advancing the latest procedures that will transform people's lives."

The Sprott Foundation's funding will support the recruitment and retention of the world's best surgeons and crucial investments in leading-edge surgical technology – including advanced robotics, image-guided therapeutics and the latest in organ repair and regeneration technology.

"We support organizations that are leaders in their field," said Eric Sprott, founder of The Sprott Foundation and Sprott Asset Management. "Surgeons at UHN helped discover insulin as a treatment for diabetes and performed the world's first successful single- and double-lung transplants. These innovations have saved the lives of millions of patients around the world, and we are proud to partner with UHN to fuel the next world-changing discovery."

The Department of Surgery at UHN encompasses the surgical programs of Toronto General, Toronto Western and Princess Margaret Hospitals and is the country's biggest, performing 25,000 procedures annually. As a provincial and national referral centre, UHN's surgeons perform the most complex procedures in the country; with the lowest mortality rates in Canada.

"We are able to offer such exceptional care because our surgical program trains and attracts the best talent from around the globe," said Dr. Keshavjee. "People come here from across the country and around the world to undergo life-saving procedures not available elsewhere. The Sprott Foundation's investment in our Department will ensure that we can continue to offer exceptional care while staying on the leading-edge of innovation and defining the future of surgery."

A portion of the Sprott Foundation investment will support the creation of a Transplant Organ Repair and Regeneration Centre (TORRC), designed to help address the shortage of suitable donor organs in Ontario. The Centre will build on the success of the Toronto XVIVO Lung Perfusion System developed by Dr. Keshavjee that assesses, treats and repairs injured donor lungs outside the body using gene therapy, prior to transplantation – a personalized approach to donor organ management. Within TORRC, the XVIVO technology will be developed to support the repair and regeneration of donor livers, kidneys and hearts, significantly increasing the number of viable organs available for transplant.

About Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation

Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation raises funds for research, education and the enhancement of patient care at Toronto General Hospital and Toronto Western Hospital as well as their respective research arms, Toronto General Research Institute and Toronto Western Research Institute.

About University Health Network

University Health Network consists of Toronto General, Toronto Western, Princess Margaret Hospitals, and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. The scope of research and complexity of cases at University Health Network has made it a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care. It has the largest hospital-based research program in Canada, with major research in cardiology, transplantation, neurosciences, oncology, surgical innovation, infectious diseases, genomic medicine and rehabilitation medicine. University Health Network is a research hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto.

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