A NEW international award for excellence in medical physics has been won by a member of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.
Professor Paul Marsden, who is Professor of PET Physics and Director of PET Medical Physics at King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ PET Centre, has been awarded the John Mallard Award by the International Organization for Medical Physics.
The newly created award honours the pioneering work of Professor John Mallard OBE, who played a crucial role in the development of two of the world’s most important medical technologies – Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET).
Professor Marsden will receive the award at the 22nd International Conference on Medical Physics in Bangkok, Thailand, later this month.
A research scientist and medical physicist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ PET Imaging Centre since 1991, Professor Marsden was appointed Professor of PET Physics at King’s College in 2010. He has led the medical physics team within the PET Centre, integrating clinical scientific support and cutting edge research to an unusual degree. Under his scientific leadership, the Centre has possibly become the leading PET clinical and research facility in the UK.
Professor Marsden jointly runs the UK National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) PET Research Network and the UK PET Core Lab, which is based at St Thomas’. He is the current Chair of the IEEE Nuclear Medical and Imaging Sciences Council and will be General Chair of the IEEE NSS/MIC Conference in 2019.
He was selected to receive the John Mallard Award for his contribution to the development and clinical application of hybrid imaging using simultaneous PET and MRI. This research began in 1996, initially in collaboration with Professor Simon Cherry, then at the University of California in Los Angeles.
Professor Marsden’s work involved overcoming the many technical challenges involved in developing a PET detector system that would function properly and safely inside a MR scanner. His 2002 paper in the British Journal of Radiology was the first to demonstrate simultaneous PET and MR imaging using an animal model, and predicted that human PET/MR imaging would be possible. This work is widely acknowledged as the first demonstration of the feasibility of the technology and is referenced in patent applications and leading review articles.
A number of further papers followed, addressing areas such as the use of simultaneously-acquired MRI data to correct for non-rigid motion in PET, which has remained a key theme of Professor Marsden’s PET/MR research and is likely to prove a key clinical application of the technology.
By 2010, as a result of his pioneering work, whole body combined PET/MR systems were commercially available. In 2014, King’s installed the second such system in the UK, and so Professor Marsden has been able to continue his research, now focused on advanced clinical development and applications, as well as leading scientific support for clinical application of the technology.
Professor Marsden said: ‘John Mallard has made pioneering contributions in both MRI and radionuclide imaging, so it is very appropriate that the first time this award had been made it is for bringing together these two powerful and complementary techniques. I’m very honoured to be recognised in this way, and to be the recipient of the first-ever John Mallard award is fantastic!’
Professor David Brettle, President of IPEM, said: ‘It is fitting the first John Mallard Award has been won by Paul for his work in PET/MRI in developing new methods and techniques, given Professor Mallard’s pioneering work in this field.’
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