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Remembering Radiologist and Inventor, Cesare Gianturco

Yesterday, August 25th, marked the 21st anniversary of famed inventor and radiologist Cesare Gianturco’s death, so it is only fitting that we pay tribute on our blog to a man who is responsible for many of the innovations and devices in radiology we treasure today.

Born in 1905 in Naples, Italy, Gianturco grew up surrounded by a family of lawyers. He decided to go into the medical field, however, and graduated from medical school in 1927, after which he spent two years in Rome studying radiology, and then another year in Berlin studying pathology. By the time he made his way to the states in 1930, Gianturco was more than prepared to take on a fellowship in radiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. During this time he worked with physiologist Walter Alvarez, discovered modifications to X-Ray techniques, and experimented with X-Ray movies.

The Gianturco coil
The Gianturco coil

After becoming a founding member and chief of radiology at the Carle Clinic, Gianturco went on to become a clinical radiology professor at the University of Illinois Medical School and published over 50 articles on new radiology techniques and modifications.

In World War II Gianturco was a lieutenant colonel in the Army Medical Corps, and developed 3D X-Ray techniques to help surgeons find shell fragments in the eyes of soldiers, thus reducing surgery time.

In 1967 Gianturco retired from clinical practice and began a second career in Houston, Texas to join the ranks of the radiology staff at MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he headed the resident training program and worked extensively with medical trainees and other radiology residents.

By 1969 Dr. Gianturco began to focus most of his time on research and split his time between Illinois and Texas. He published more than 90 articles and acquired more than 10 patents for equipment changes during his time at MD Anderson Hospital, and, even though he retired in 1994 at the age of 89, he still continued to explore projects with the hospital and the Dunn Foundation Center for Research in the Radiological Sciences.

In addition to his 10 patents he held foreign patents as well, and some of his notable ideas and inventions included the Giantuco-Rubin coronary stent; the Gianturco coil, which is placed inside blood vessels to block bleeding inside the body and starve tumors blood supply; and the bird’s nest filter, a device used to trap blood clots before they reach the heart.

Dr. Gianturco was a fellow of the ACR and received gold medals from the Radiological Society of North America, the ACR, the Italian Radiological Society, and the Society of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology. He died in Illinois at the age of 90 and today is hailed as one of the greatest radiologists and inventors to have ever lived. Today, we remember Dr. Gianturco, and thank him for his numerous contributions to the medical industry.

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