Topic: David Shaw (1953-2013)

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Gastroenterologist, New Zealand Order of Merit.

David Shaw (1953 - 2013)David Shaw was an internationally renowned gastroenterologist based at Tauranga Hospital.

David completed a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from Otago University, and Masters degrees in science from Massey and Otago Universities respectively, before he joined Tauranga Hospital as a House Surgeon in 1981.

He returned to Tauranga Hospital as a Medical Registrar in the mid-1980’s and it was during this time that he developed his interest in gastroenterology and endoscopic medicine, when he covered for a colleague who was on leave.

On his third tenure at Tauranga Hospital, he returned as a gastroenterologist and began working with Dr Parry Guilford from the University of Otago Cancer Genetics laboratory and the Mt Maunganui Kimihauora Health Clinic, which had made contact with the Cancer Genetics Laboratory in 1996.

Systemic research led to the identification of mutations in the E-cadherin gene in 1997amongst members of the McLeod whānau from Mount Maunganui who were highly susceptible to developing gastric cancer. The McLeod whānau were plagued by premature deaths which they once feared to have been a Māori curse.

A relatively simple blood test was developed by the University and a testing programme, run by Kimihauora and the Northern Regional Genetic Service, completed 110 blood tests. Out of that 38 were found to carry the mutation in the E-cadherin gene.

One of the critical outcomes was the setting up of a screening programme at Tauranga Hospital for those identified with the gene. David used a specially adapted chrome endoscopy technique which used coloured dye to help enhance the appearance of tiny lesions. It was this screening that became critical to the chances of early detection of this familial stomach cancer.

This collaborative work saved the lives of many of the McLeod whānau.

David received six fellowships and was also a Dawes Postgraduate Scholar. His work earned him the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2005 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for his services to medicine.

David Shaw died in April 2013 in Tauranga at the age of 59. 

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David Shaw (1953-2013)


First Names:David
Last Name:Shaw
Date of Birth:November 1953
Place of death:April 2013

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