University of Saskatchewan hosts international brainstorming workshop on medical imaging

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 16, 2013 SASKATOON - International medical imaging and health experts are meeting at the University of Saskatchewan today to explore how scientists, governments and industry can work together and improve health care for people and animals.

"Frontiers in Hybrid Medical Imaging Technology" is a day-long brainstorming workshop for 40 academic, government and industry representatives. Participants are having strategic discussions about medical imaging and the challenges in diagnosing and treating life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and neurologic conditions.
"Our goal is to facilitate positive changes that will enhance health care in Canada and around the world," said Dr. Baljit Singh, associate dean of research at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM).
One participant is Dr. Markus Schwaiger of the Technical University of Munich, a world-renowned scientist whose research focuses on positron emission tomography (PET) in cardiology and oncology.
"We're bringing people like Dr. Schwaiger and other experts together to identify existing challenges in the area of imaging and to stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration that will lead to technological breakthroughs in the medical imaging field," said Singh.
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) provided funding for the workshop that was organized by the WCVM, U of S College of Medicine and the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation (Fedoruk Centre).
"The U of S and the province are well-positioned to make some real contributions at the frontier of nuclear medicine," said John Root, interim executive director of the Fedoruk Centre. "Meetings like this enable us to identify opportunities and build partnerships that will have a lasting positive impact on people's health."
Workshop participants will identify the top four priorities for future medical imaging research and training. Organizers will use the group's recommendations to draft a proposal for potential funding through government and industry programs.
"The world isn't short on great ideas that have the potential to improve medical imaging technologies, but we first need agreement among partners about those issues that should be addressed first," said Dr. Paul Babyn, head of the U of S College of Medicine's Department of Medical Imaging. "This workshop is taking us to the next level: it's stimulating network building, change through group consensus and collaboration."
Several imaging experts also spoke at a continuing education session on May 15 that was organized by Babyn and
WCVM medical imaging specialist Dr. Tawni Silver. More than 50 U of S faculty, students and alumni attended the half-day molecular imaging conference.
The two events are ideal for the U of S where medical imaging, nuclear medicine and synchrotron sciences are key components of the university's future plans for research and advanced education.
U of S resources include the Canadian Light Source—Canada's only synchrotron—where scientists collaborate on new diagnostic and treatment techniques for people and animals. Another vital resource is a new cyclotron that will be operated by the Fedoruk Centre, which will produce medical isotopes for use in Saskatchewan's new PET-CT scanner at the Royal University Hospital.
Researchers also have access to a variety of imaging technologies at the WCVM where animal models are used to investigate diseases that affect animals and people.
For more information, contact:
Myrna MacDonald
Western College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Saskatchewan
Matthew Dalzell
Communications Officer
Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian
Centre for Nuclear Innovation
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