Top prize for surgical researcher Chirwa

01 October 2007

PhD student Nthato Chirwa of the Surgical Research Laboratory, Division of General Surgery, scooped the Bunny Angorn Prize at the recent annual Southern African Surgical Research Society meeting in Bloemfontein.

His presentation was on a polyclonal antibody that could be a clinical marker for gastric diseases such as gastric adenocarcinoma and ulceration.

In this project a polyclonal antibody was raised to a previously described gastric mucin fragment, isolated from the crude mucus secretions of patients with gastric disease. Its role in the pathogenesis of gastric cancer is now being investigated and an attempt is being made to identify it in collaboration with Dr Bongani Ndimba, head of the Proteomics Research Group in the Department of Biotechnology at the University of the Western Cape.

Angorn was one of the leading academic surgeons in South Africa in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was an ardent supporter of research and was instrumental in the success of the Surgical Research Society (SRS). He died prematurely of cancer.

The SRS acknowledged his contributions to the society by naming a prize in his honour. The prestigious prize is awarded for the best presentation by a young researcher at the annual meeting of the SRS of Southern Africa.

Chirwa will present his research findings at a plenary session at the Society of Academic and Research Surgery (SARS) in Birmingham in January next year. His supervisor, Professor Anwar Mall, was delighted.

"Chirwa has shown great enthusiasm for his work."

Chirwa said: "The award is a personal one, but I would also like to share it with my supervisor and colleagues who have supported me."

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