The Hanoitimes - Nguyen Thanh Liem, Director of the Stem Cell and Gene Technology Institute at Vinmec International Hospital, has become the first Vietnamese doctor to receive the 2018 Nikkei Asia Prize in the science and technology category.
The honor was awarded to the doctor at a ceremony in Tokyo on June 13 in recognition of his work advancing health care for children.
Nikkei said Liem performed Asia's first laparoscopic surgery on a child. Commonly used on adults, the procedure involves making small incisions in the abdomen, but is more difficult to perform on children because their bodies are smaller, leaving less room to work.
Mr. Naotoshi Okada, President and CEO of Nikkei Group awarded the Nikkei Asia 2018 to Prof. Nguyen Thanh Liem
Having learned minimally invasive surgery from French pioneer Philippe Mouret, Liem was determined to "bring pediatric endoscopic surgery to Vietnam" to reduce the need for major procedures that leave serious pain and scars. In 2014, he became one of pioneers in using stem cell transplants to treat serious disorders such as cerebral palsy.
The prize was created in 1996 to commemorate the 120th anniversary of Nikkei's main Japanese language newspaper. Past winners include Manmohan Singh, who won in 1997 before becoming India's prime minister, and Bangladeshi social entrepreneur Muhammad Yunus, who was honored in 2004 and went on to receive the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for pioneering the concept of microfinance.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Prof. Hiroshi Matsumoto emphasized: "Professor Nguyen Thanh Liem is one of the leading pediatric surgeons and the first doctor to perform laparoscopic pediatrics surgery in Vietnam. Liem is also the initiator of robotic surgery and other advanced techniques, bringing about the change of life for numerous children in Vietnam."
"Stem cell transplantation is being performed at Vinmec International Hospital in a strict procedure, accordance with international standards for the best results. In the future, this method can be extended to treat other diseases such as cerebral stroke, myocardial infarction, diabetes, Parkinson and so on," procedure Professor Nguyen Thanh Liem.