22 August 2017

Professor who pioneered use of tiny pill cameras to view inside of stomach wins national prize

Professor Mark McAlindon becomes second gastroenterologist from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to win prestigious Hopkins Endoscopy Prize

A SHEFFIELD doctor who pioneered the use of a tiny pill camera to detect problems in the intestine and stomach, transforming care by helping doctors diagnose illnesses by transmitting close-up images of the digestive tract, has won a national prize in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the field.

Professor Mark McAlindon, a consultant gastroenterologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has received the prestigious British Society of Gastroenterology’s Hopkins Endoscopy Prize for leading the way in the development of a technique known as capsule endoscopy.

The tiny, vitamin-sized pill contains a microchip inside which works a miniature camera to take pictures of the digestive tract as it journeys over an average eight-hour period through the body. Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s gastroenterology centre was the first centre in the UK to use the technology in clinical practice.

Professor Mark McAlindon is the second leading expert from the Trust to win the eminent national prize, which was also awarded to Dr Reena Sidhu in 2012.

Professor Mark McAlindon said: “I am extremely honoured and humbled to have received this well-renowned award, which is further national recognition of Sheffield’s status as one of the leading endoscopic centres in the UK with one of the largest small bowel services in Europe. Although it is an individual award, I would like to acknowledge my appreciation of my fantastic colleagues at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and across the UK who have put in over 15 years’ work to continue to develop this groundbreaking technology for the benefit of patients. This team includes Dr Reena Sidhu, who remarkably won the prize in 2012 before becoming a consultant, making Sheffield the only centre in the country to have won the award twice.”

Professor David Sanders, a consultant gastroenterologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added: “Sheffield are unique in being the only centre in the UK to have won this prestigious prize twice and this reflects that high standards of endoscopy and endoscopic innovation from our Trust. It further reinforces our status as a premier UK centre for gastroenterology.”

Professor Mark McAlindon and the team from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust first tested the use of pill cameras in the small intestine and the large intestine (colon). The technique was then expanded to be used to examine the whole intestine (panenteric capsule endoscopy) – eliminating the need for conventional fiberoptic endoscopy, a sometimes uncomfortable test requiring sedation.

The Hopkins Endoscopy Prize is awarded annually by the British Society of Gastroenterology, with prize winners delivering a lecture in front of renowned figures from across the world at the British Society of Gastroenterology’s national conference. The award is named after Harold Hopkins, an engineer who developed modern flexible endoscopy instruments using fibre optics.


Photo: Professor Mark McAlindon delivers his lecture at the British Society of Gastroenterology’s national conference

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