Imaging :: Examining molecular imaging’s hot future

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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