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A*STAR scientist receives international award for innovation in healthcare technology
Date:6/22/2010

Physicist David William Townsend will be honoured with the prestigious 2010 IEEE Medal for Innovations in Healthcare Technology for the design, commercial development and clinical implementation of the PET/CT scanner. Prof Townsend will receive the medal jointly with his co-inventor, engineer Ronald Nutt, on 26 June 2010 at the IEEE Honors Ceremony in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. IEEE is the world's largest professional association advancing technology for humanity.

Heralded as "Medical Invention of the Year" in 2000 by TIME magazine, the PET/CT scanner revolutionised diagnostic medical imaging by enabling cancer tumours to be detected faster and more accurately, for diagnosis as well as staging and during treatment. The hybrid PET/CT scanner works by ingeniously combining the anatomical information offered by CT imaging with the high contrast of PET tumour imaging in a single examination. This enables the two sets of images to be more precisely registered as there is no changing of the patient's position between the two types of scans. Previously, patients had to take two separate PET and CT examinations, preventing accurate alignment of the images and limiting the quality of disease assessment. Since its commercial introduction in 2001, the PET/CT technology has been widely adopted by the medical profession. Over 95% of all PET scanners sold in 2004 were PET/CT scanners. By 2006, practically all stand-alone PET scanner purchases were replaced by PET/CT scanners.

Prof Townsend is currently head of PET and SPECT development at the Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC) under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and a Professor of Radiology at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore. He is leading his team to develop both single photon and positron-emitting radiotracers for pre-clinical imaging of disease.

Highly regarded as the world's leading authority on hybrid imaging systems, Prof Townsend conducted research on imaging systems at hospitals and institutes across the US and Europe for some 30 years before joining A*STAR in 2009. More information on Prof Townsend can be found at the Annex.

Said A*STAR Chairman, Mr Lim Chuan Poh, "The IEEE medal gives due recognition to David's significant achievements and outstanding contributions to biomedical research and healthcare delivery. A*STAR is honoured to have him among our scientists. His multidisciplinary expertise and extensive experience make him a great asset in Singapore's push to develop itself into a translational and clinical research hub."

Added Chairman of SBIC, Prof Sir George Radda, "David has contributed greatly to SBIC's plans to create an integrated platform for multidisciplinary research, and to become a focal point of interaction with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. His winning of the IEEE medal is a nod to the widespread benefit his invention has brought, as well as an inspiration to our younger scientists. We are proud of him for his achievements."

Said Prof John Wong, Deputy Chief Executive of the National University Health System and Dean of the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, "David is one of the rare people who has changed the practice of medicine in his lifetime. The development of CT-PET scanning has revolutionised the practice of medicine, starting with the management of cancer and drug development. We are honoured to have someone of his stature on our faculty who is testimony to the power of bringing engineers, scientists, and clinicians together to develop better ways to diagnose and manage major diseases."


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Contact: Adela Foo
adela_foo@a-star.edu.sg
656-826-6218
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
Source:Eurekalert

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