Sidra Medicine pathologist wins top prize for paper on paediatric kidney cancer
Sidra Medicine has announced that Dr William Mifsud, from the department of pathology, was recently presented with the Marian Malone Prize at the 64th Annual Meeting of the Pediatric Pathology Society in Paris, France.
Dr Mifsud was awarded the prize for his paper about the evolution of Wilms tumours, the most common type of kidney cancer in children. His paper defined the evolutionary patterns underlying Wilms tumour growth and showed that relapse in high-risk cases may be predicted by the burden of genetic changes across multiple samples from each tumour.
Dr Mifsud joined Sidra Medicine as a junior attending physician in paediatric pathology, from Birmingham Children’s Hospital in April 2018, after training at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. His research was carried out in partnership with researchers from the Francis Crick Institute and from the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, both in London.
Dr Mifsud’s paper highlights that a subset of Wilms tumour patients who relapse can be predicted by studying genomic events across multiple tumour samples. His paper should lead to a better prediction of Wilms tumour relapse in children, Sidra Medicine has said in a statement.
Commenting on his research, Dr Mifsud said: “The chance of relapse in a high-risk Wilms tumour is 50%, with limited possibilities of being able to better predict or rule out relapses in individual cases before our work. By multisampling Wilms’ and possibly other paediatric cancers, we can obtain a more sensitive overview of the degree of genomic instability across an individual cancer.
“This can refine our prediction of aggressive behaviour in the cancer and, therefore, help tailor the treatment for each case. This is particularly critical in the treatment of children, as over or under treatment is a potential longterm problem in paediatric cancers.”
Dr Mifsud is considering extending the second part of his study in Qatar, to focus on all paediatric solid tumours, especially those involving cases seen at Sidra Medicine.
Dr Rusung Tan, chair of the department of pathology at Sidra Medicine, added: “We are pleased to have Dr Mifsud join our world-class team of paediatric pathologists. Recognition for this ground-breaking study is also reflective of the type of highly specialised teams we have at Sidra Medicine. Our combined efforts to develop the best possible paediatric diagnostic service will have a key impact on the healthcare outcomes for not only Qatar’s but also the region’s children and young people.”
The Marian Malone Prize is named after Dr Marian Malone, who was renowned for her significant contribution to the diagnosis of childhood diseases and the education of paediatric pathologists.