Sidra Medicine Pathologist Dr. William Mifsud wins Marian Malone Prize for paper on pediatric kidney cancer

Qatar Foundation institution continues to attract and train the best and brightest minds to help realize personalized medicine for people of Qatar

Doha, Qatar, 5 December 2018: Sidra Medicine is pleased to announce 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 tumours1, 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 Pediatric Pathology, from Birmingham Children’s Hospital in April 2018, after training at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) 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.

Commenting on his research, Dr. Mifsud said, “The chance of relapse in a high-risk Wilms tumour is 50 percent, 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 pediatric 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 behavior in the cancer, and therefore help to tailor the treatment for each case. This is particularly critical in the treatment of children, as over or under treatment is a potential long-term problem in pediatric cancers.”

Dr. Mifsud is considering to extend the second part of his study in Qatar, to focus on all pediatric solid tumours, especially those involving cases seen at Sidra Medicine.

Dr. Rusung Tan, Chair of the Department of Pathology at Sidra Medicine said, “We are pleased to have Dr. Mifsud join our world-class team of pediatric pathologists. His recognition for this ground-breaking study is also reflective of the type of highly specialized teams we have at Sidra Medicine. Our combined efforts to develop the best possible pediatric 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 was established in 2016 for the best presentation of a surgical pediatric pathology abstract by a young pathologist at the annual meeting of the Paediatric Pathology Society. It is named after Dr. Marian Malone, a consultant pediatric pathologist who died in 2015. Dr. Malone was renowned for her significant contribution to the diagnosis of childhood diseases and the education of paediatric pathologists.

“I feel humbled to win this prize, especially because I had the privilege of working with Dr. Malone, when I was training in pediatric pathology at Great Ormond Street Hospital. I am also excited to join Sidra Medicine, which is actively building an environment where medical research and clinical care go hand in hand and will have a big impact on personalized medicine services,” concluded Dr. Mifsud.

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Notes to the editor:

1. Wilms Tumours are named after Max Wilms, a German doctor who wrote one of the first medical articles about the disease in 1899.