Examining molecular imaging's hot future

Experts identify most promising lab-based discoveries, encourage rapid translation of discoveries to direct, routine patient benefit -- Report issued in December Journal of Nuclear Medicine

RESTON, Va. -- The December issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine carries specific conclusions and recommendations on how the medical community can harness the power of molecular imaging and therapy to manage diseases and improve the quality of life for patients. "Shaping the Future: The 2006 SNM Molecular Imaging Summit" provides the first-ever look at molecular imaging's potential—as seen by medical professionals, scientists, industry representatives, and funding and regulatory officials—in a special expanded section of the society's flagship journal.

"By exploring basic research, instrumentation, drug development, clinical issues and educational needs, SNM is taking the lead in defining molecular imaging and streamlining its integration into current and future patient care," said SNM President Martin P. Sandler. "Nearly 70 researchers, commercial sector representatives, and officials from national government and regulatory agencies examined current and future applications of molecular imaging over three days during SNM's 'Shaping the Future' industry summit," he noted. "This report examines the potential of molecular imaging to enhance patient care and improve patient outcomes in light of the merging of nuclear medicine techniques, new technologies, hybrid imaging and advances in molecular biology," added Sandler, who speaks for the society's more than 16,000 physician, technologist and scientist members.

"Molecular imaging, a technique that targets and photographs biological markers, will one day allow physicians and scientists to detect characteristic molecular events in the human body specific for diseases leading to the early diagnosis, treatment and even prevention of cancer and disorders of the heart, brain and endocrine system," noted Mathew L. Thakur. The summit's co-chair/organizer said that several broad, cooperative efforts are crucial to promoting molecular imaging and therapy: a need for shared standards in all aspects of research and practice; new professional and innovative approaches to attract the most talented individuals; and continued cooperation with those in all sectors of the molecular imaging community. The SNM summit marked seminal progress in defining what needs to happen and what can be done to accelerate the translation of science into concrete clinical practice that can help patients and the management of their diseases, he added.

"While the Journal of Nuclear Medicine charts the profession's continued scientific progress, it's equally important to relay information gleaned from meetings such as this industry summit," said Heinrich R. Schelbert, JNM's editor in chief about the 40-page Newsline special. "Such discussions will advance the potential of molecular imaging into reality," he added.

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SNM, the leading international molecular imaging and nuclear medicine association, assembled an exceptional molecular imaging think tank with assistance from Sandler; Thakur; Alexander J. McEwan, SNM president-elect; and Peter Conti, SNM immediate past president. Nearly 70 molecular imaging experts participated in the summit. Attending were industry representatives from Biogen Idec, Bioperspectives, Bracco Diagnostics Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Medical Imaging, Capintec Inc., Cardinal Health, GE Healthcare, IBA Molecular, Mallinckrodt Inc., MDS Nordion, Merck & Company Inc., Philips, Siemens Medical Solutions USA and Spectrum Dynamics. Also attending the session in Key Biscayne, Fla., were representatives from the FDA's Office for In Vitro Diagnostic Device Evaluation and Safety, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the National Cancer Institute and NIH's National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. Individuals attended from Kimmel, M.D. Anderson and Memorial Sloan Kettering cancer centers and George Mason, Texas A&M, Thomas Jefferson, Vanderbilt and Yale universities, as well as the University of Southern California and the University of Pennsylvania.

The Journal of Nuclear Medicine is published by SNM, an international scientific and professional organization of more than 16,000 physician, technologist and scientist members. For more information, please visit SNM's Web site at http://www.snm.org.

Media representatives: To obtain a copy of this special section, please contact Maryann Verrillo. Current and past issues of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine can be found online at http://jnm.snmjournals.org. Print copies can be obtained by contacting the SNM Service Center, 1850 Samuel Morse Drive, Reston, VA 20190-5316; phone (800) 513-6853; e-mail servicecenter@snm.org; fax (703) 708-9015. A subscription to the journal is an SNM member benefit.

About SNM—Advancing Molecular Imaging and Therapy
SNM is an international scientific and professional organization of more than 16,000 members dedicated to promoting the science, technology and practical applications of molecular and nuclear imaging to diagnose, manage and treat diseases in women, men and children. Founded more than 50 years ago, SNM continues to provide essential resources for health care practitioners and patients; publish the most prominent peer-reviewed journal in the field (the Journal of Nuclear Medicine); host the premier annual meeting for medical imaging; sponsor research grants, fellowships and awards; and train physicians, technologists, scientists, physicists, chemists and radiopharmacists in state-of-the-art imaging procedures and advances. SNM members have introduced—and continue to explore—biological and technological innovations in medicine that noninvasively investigate the molecular basis of diseases, benefiting countless generations of patients. SNM is based in Reston, Va.; additional information can be found online at http://www.snm.org.


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