The Power Of Ideas: A Proposal To Ignore "pussycat" Prostate Cancer
Scientists from The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden Hospital have been named as the 2008 winners at the Medical Futures Innovation Awards ceremony celebrating clinical and commercial excellence this week.
Dr Chris Parker, Professor Nandita Desouza and Dr Nick Van As were selected from a field of more than 100 leading scientists to win the Patient Care Innovation Award for Cancer.
The Medical Futures Innovation Awards are a unique UK based awards programme that sets out to help healthcare professionals and academics turn their ideas into tangible solutions that can improve patient care.
The scientists received the award for their proposal to use a specialised imaging technique to dramatically improve the way prostate cancer is diagnosed.
The majority of prostate cancers are essentially harmless - also known as "pussycat" prostate cancers, but it can often be difficult to distinguish them from the harmful ones, known as "tigers".
Dr Parker from the Everyman Centre at The Institute, and the Royal Marsden Hospital explains:
"There is a real need to find a way of diagnosing the tigers, without finding the pussycats. Scans using diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may have the potential to fulfil this need, he says.
"This scan is already in use to determine the extent of the disease in men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. What the team has proposed is to use the scan as a tool to select which men get a prostate biopsy in the first place. Used in this way, it may avoid tens of thousands of unnecessary biopsies every year, and prevent the "over diagnosis" of harmless prostate cancers."
The judges selected winners based on three principal criteria: novelty; impact on patient care and its viability, whether that is clinical, technical or commercial.
Professor Andy Goldberg, founder of Medical Futures comments:
"This project demonstrated beautifully how technology could be used to improve service design and patient care and we would like to see it developed further."
Dr Parker's position is partly funded by Cancer Research UK.
Professor deSouza is from The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden Hospital. Dr Van As is from The Royal Marsden Hospital.
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