Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Nguyễn Thanh Liêm, a leading paediatric surgeon, has been awarded the 2018 Nikkei Asia Prize in the Science and Technology category.
Liêm is director of the Stem Cell and Gene Technology Institute at the Vinmec Times City International Hospital.
He is expected to travel to Tokyo, Japan, to receive the award on June 14.
Liêm, who was also former director of the National Paediatrics Hospital and Vinmec Times City International Hospital, will be the first Vietnamese physician to be honoured with the prestigious award.
“I was pleasantly surprised when I heard the news. I never thought I would get the prize because I believed my scientific research was still modest compared to other scientists and researchers in the region,” Liêm said.
Last year’s prize went to Michael Ming-Chiao Lai, a world-renowned Taiwanese virologist, for his long-term dedication to research on coronavirus, hepatitis C and D viruses and especially for his contribution to the prevention of severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003.
This year, Liêm has been awarded the prize for his outstanding achievements in scientific and clinical researches on paediatric endoscopic techniques and stem cell transplantation. He has also performed many complicated surgeries to separate conjoined twins, giving hope to parents and twins in the country.
During his tenure as director of the National Paediatrics Hospital from 2002 to 2012, he created nine new surgical techniques.
Prof. Liêm performs a stem cells transplant at the Stem Cell and Gene Technology Institute in Hà Nội. — Photo courtesy of Vinmec Times City International Hospital
At the Stem Cell and Gene Technology Institute in Hà Nội, Liêm has recently achieved remarkable results in the transplant of bone marrow mononuclear cells to treat children with bronchopulmonary dysplasia. His State research project has successfully applied stem cell therapy to treat 30 cerebral palsy and autistic children at the Vinmec Times City International Hospital since July 2016.
“Among the 30 children, 28 have improved their disease condition. Of them, five have had very positive changes, 19 positive changes and four have changed. Only two kids did not respond to the treatment,” Liêm said.
Established in 1996, the annual Nikkei Asia Prize recognises outstanding achievements and contributions to the region’s sustainable development and creation of a better future for Asia. The prizes are awarded in three categories: Economic and Business Innovation, Science and Technology and Culture and Community. Recipients may be an individual or a group or organisation in any Asian country, except Japan, and is awarded three million yen along with a certificate.
Previously, several Vietnamese have been awarded Nikkei Prizes in the categories of culture and regional growth, including film director Đặng Nhật Minh in 1999, agriculture expert Võ Tòng Xuân (2002), novelist Bảo Ninh (2011), chairman and CEO of FPT Corp. Trương Gia Bình (2013) and chairwoman and CEO of Vinamilk Mai Kiều Liên (2015). — VNS