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Digital Autopsy launched in the UK

Malaysian advanced medical informatics company iGene today launched the first of its state-of-the-art digital autopsy facilities for the UK, the first country to adopt this revolutionary technology. The landmark event, on the first day of the World Islamic Economic Forum in London, was witnessed by Malaysian Prime Minister the Honourable Dato’ Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak.

The £3 million Digital Autopsy Facility at Sheffield’s Medico-Legal Centre – the first facility of a nationwide network that will eventually involve an investment of £50 million in the UK, over the next two years – will be operated by Sheffield City Council on completion in November 2013.

The construction and equipping of the centre is being funded by iGene London Limited, the UK subsidiary of iGene Sdn. Bhd., which will also train and support the pathology team in Sheffield and recruit at least 14 other highly-skilled support staff. Approximately 550,000 deaths are recorded in England and Wales each year alone, of which more than 200,000 require a post-mortem.

Mr Matt Chandran, CEO of iGene Sdn. Bhd., said at the launch: “ We are honoured that Prime Minister of Malaysia, the Honourable Dato’ Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, is here to witness the launch of our £50 million investment in this network of Digital Autopsy Facilities for the UK.

“That this is the first such network anywhere in the world is a testament to the innovative thought-leadership of the UK Government and forward-thinking cities like Sheffield and others across the country, with whom we are working.

“Digital Autopsy is more than just a technological innovation; we believe it represents a tremendous humanitarian step forward in establishing the cause of unnatural death in a humane manner.”

Dato’ Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry, said: ” I am proud of iGene’s achievement which is showcased at the 9th WIEF. Indeed, this made-in-Malaysia technology is a milestone for innovation in Malaysia. The digital autopsy services are much faster, non-invasive and compliant of international standards.

“The UK’s adoption of iGene’s services is a testament to the capability of Malaysian companies to offer world-class technology-driven services.”

Digital Autopsy involves a three-dimensional scan of the body using a CT scanner, before iGene’s revolutionary visualisation software enables the pathologist to conduct a full, non-invasive digital post mortem, with the results being available shortly after.

Peter Vanezis, Consultant Forensic Pathologist to the Home Office and Chief Medical Officer for iGene in the UK, stressed that the introduction of this new technology would be progressive. He said:

“Only Coroners can order a digital autopsy and their partnership with us is of paramount importance. As Chief Medical Officer, I will continue to work closely with local authority Coroners, with whom I have had long relationships over the years, to understand their needs and see how Digital Autopsy can be used to complement and eventually avoid a traditional, invasive post mortem.

“I am also setting up a steering committee of 10-14 experts to assist me in this work, including pathologists, radiologists, radiographers and physicists; people from both medical and scientific disciplines. This steering committee will ensure quality assurance and strengthen the links between the new technology and existing ones.”

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