PotashCorp helps bring new medical imaging technology to Sask. hospital

PotashCorp announced a half-a-million dollar donation to support St. Paul’s Hospital in its work to prevent and treat kidney disease in Saskatchewan. Devin Sauer / Global News

SASKATOON – The prevention and treatment of kidney disease in Saskatchewan was strengthened Tuesday. PotashCorp announced a charitable donation of half-a-million dollars to support the work of a St. Paul’s Hospital outreach program and the acquisition of new diagnostic technology.

The Saskatchewan-based mining giant is giving $500,000 to help fund the purchase of the most advanced molecular imaging equipment currently available in Canada.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan expects to be nuclear medicine research leader

Officials with the the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation said they are raising $2.3 million to purchase and install a SPECT-CT.

“The new SPECT-CT will advance diagnosis and treatment options for various forms of cancer and for complications stemming from diabetes,” said John Agioritis, SPH Foundation board chair.

“This gift also strengthens the hospital’s chronic kidney disease outreach program which brings nurses and coordinators to northern communities to screen individuals for signs of kidney disease.”

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The SPECT-CT can perform physiological and anatomic imaging of the body which provides more accurate information for doctors to treat patients.

“The primary use of the camera is going to be for staging cancers and for detecting infections and the spread of that infection,” said Dr. Sandeep Nijjar, division head of nuclear medicine.

“The combination of a CT scanner and a gamma camera really allows us to make more accurate diagnosis. And, in cases with infections, it allows us to see exactly where the infection is which has significant treatment implications.”

A new mural on the history of diagnostic imaging at St. Paul’s Hospital was also unveiled Tuesday.

“We believe it is important to enhance the well-being of our communities and this investment achieves that,” said PotashCorp Chief Financial Officer Wayne Brownlee.

PotashCorp has been supporting advanced imaging in Saskatchewan for decades. In 1990, it matched $1.5 million in community donations to bring the first magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to the province.

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