MEDICAL MINDS: Dr. Paul Babyn        

Dr. Paul Babyn is the Department Head of Medical Imaging for the Saskatoon Health Region and the University of Saskatchewan. He recently spoke with the Royal University Hospital Foundation about its $2.5 million PICTURE THIS! Campaign and the significance of bringing a PET-CT (Positron Emission Tomography - Computer Tomography) to Royal University Hospital.                                             Photo courtesy of Saskatchewan Express

Why is a PET-CT so important to patients and their families at Royal University Hospital, as well as to the Saskatoon Health Region and the province?

First and foremost, having a Positron Emission Tomography - Computer Tomography, or PET-CT for short, will allow us to provide the most advanced medical imaging care available in the country to cancer, cardiac and neurology patients. Because a PET-CT scan will potentially give physicians the ability to avoid additional invasive examinations or surgical procedures, we will be significantly improving the level of health care that we are able to provide for the people of Saskatchewan. Patients can have earlier diagnoses and faster treatments that they can access right here at RUH.

How important is PET-CT to attracting talent in the field of nuclear medicine?

Having a PET-CT scanner makes RUH an attractive and preferred location for highly skilled physicians as well as nuclear medicine radiologists and other staff. In some cases, it is the very reason nuclear medicine physicians have chosen to come and practice here, which means we will always be on the cutting edge of research advancements. That’s critical to clinical care. There are two parts to clinical care – that which we provide today and what we will provide tomorrow. The difference between the two is research.

By providing PET-CT services in Saskatchewan, we recognize the value and potential of nuclear imaging and how this extends from the research arena, where researchers at the university will link to physicians and other hospital staff at RUH to continuously improve patient care.

How does PET-CT fit with the larger vision for the university, hospital and province?

It recognizes and builds on the legacy of the late Dr. Sylvia Fedoruk and her development of the Cobalt-60 radiation therapy at the University of Saskatchewan. [As a medical physicist, Fedoruk, who passed away September 26, was the sole female member of the team that first successfully treated a cancer patient with Cobalt-60 radiation therapy at the U of S in 1951.] The Premier recently announced, and it’s fitting, that the Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation located on campus will be renamed the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation.

Plans are underway for the production of medical isotopes used in PET-CT scans to be produced by the cyclotron at the U of S, which will be part of the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation. This is all part of a larger vision for Saskatchewan to provide excellence in nuclear medicine, research and training.

Dr. Sylvia Fedoruk certainly was a pioneer. How does PET-CT fit with her legacy?

The device and techniques Fedoruk helped develop are used to this day to treat cancers around the world. Daily, more than 45,000 radiation treatments are delivered in more than 80 countries. Her work has benefitted hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of patients around the world. In fact, according to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, her groundbreaking research in cobalt radiation has helped more than 70 million people worldwide. Our goal at RUH is to provide PET-CT services that will help thousands of patients right in Saskatchewan so they can have earlier diagnosis and faster treatment, all without having to leave home.

Thanks to generous donors, Saskatchewan’s first PET-CT has been installed and the first patient was scanned on May 1, 2013!

Read more about  PET-CT?






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