Professor Malcolm Sperrin leads the way in kidney stones treatment
Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust’s Director of Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering, Professor Malcolm Sperrin, leads a very full life. As well as his role at the hospital, he is an active member of the Army Reserve, a published author and an advisor to a number of government and international organisations.
At the hospital Malcolm is responsible for a team of over 70 staff including scientists, technicians and administrators. The five medical physics departments he leads support imaging and therapeutic procedures, radiotherapy, clinical photography, engineering, and nuclear medicine, as well as leading on aspects of professional standards and research.
Alongside his very busy day job, Malcolm also finds time to devote to research and development, something he is passionate about.
“Modern healthcare can be extremely technical and research allows me to play a part in the future of a very complex healthcare system, especially where new technology is available that can contribute to more efficient and more diverse treatment options,” said Malcolm.
He is author of many publications across a wide spectrum of medical physics, including a leading paper on lithotripsy. Lithotripsy uses externally generated ultrasound waves to break kidney stones into pieces small enough to be passed out painlessly in the urine, avoiding the need for surgery. It has proved to be extremely effective for smaller stones, but surgery for larger or more awkwardly shaped ones is still often required.
Malcolm has been working to better understand the process, and using modelling techniques to show how stress builds in the stone following ultrasound shockwaves. His findings have been used to fine tune lithotripsy, allowing it to be used on larger stones providing an alternative treatment option for patients. He also found that urine surrounding the stone can be ‘doped’ to make treatment more effective and developed the use of a device introduced into the body so the ultrasound shock can be delivered nearer to the stone providing better outcomes.
As a leader in his field, Malcolm’s knowledge is not only of great benefit to the hospital and its patients, but also to the organisations he advises.
Next week he will be leading a number of sessions at a Global Conference in Lyon, France, where delegates will be discussing technical aspects of radiation medicine, contingency, business continuity and risk prevention.
Photo: Professor Malcolm Sperrin (courtesy of ‘NHS extraordinary you’ publication)