The most fundamental aspect of writing an award-winning abstract is to perform award-winning research. On 14 July 2020 postdoctoral student, Dr Ismaheel Lawal was awarded the 2020 International Best Abstract Award by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMI) for the study “Predictors of residual metabolic activity on FDG PET/CT in patients treated for pulmonary tuberculosis”. The SNMMI honours and celebrates the extraordinary work that is being done around the globe to further the effectiveness of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging.
Dr Lawal is currently an Honorary Consultant Nuclear Medicine Physician at Steve Biko Academic Hospital and is at an advanced stage of his PhD program in Medical Nuclear Science at the University of Pretoria. Being honoured with this award serves as motivation for Dr Lawal and the team to work harder, “I see it as an attestation of the excellent work our team is doing, and as an impetus even to work harder. It shows that if you do impactful research, your work will be recognized globally” he said.
The study was a collaboration with the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Microbiology at the University of Pretoria, SMU and collaborators from UCT and Boston University in the United States. The study focused on Predictors of residual metabolic activity on FDG PET/CT in patients treated for pulmonary tuberculosis.
The study found that certain clinical and CT features are predictive or have strong associations with residual metabolic activity on end-of-treatment FDG PET scan. The study showed that residual metabolic activity on end-of-treatment FDG PET/CT is predictive of TB relapse. Since not all patients will be able to have FDG PET/CT scan at the end of TB treatment to confirm a durable cure due to cost and availability issues, we evaluated these clinical and CT features which when seen in a patient should alert a clinician to the high risk of disease relapse in the patients. The findings may help clinicians select patients who may benefit from a more extended treatment course or may need to follow-up more closely for TB relapse.
Mentorship is an important aspect for an upcoming clinician-scientist. Dr Lawal acknowledged the impact that Prof Mike Sathekge, Head of the Nuclear Medicine Department has on the group. “We at the Nuclear Medicine department are particularly privileged to have a mentor such as Prof Sathekge, who provides the leadership and support necessary to do award-winning research,” said Dr Lawal.