Imaging Advances in Diagnosis and Treatment: A Window into the Future

June 29, 2015

The Society of Nuclear Medicine’s Annual Meeting showcases new research and technology

Reston, Va. (June 29, 2015) —More than five thousand physicians, technologists, scientists and exhibitors gathered at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging’s (SNMMI) 2015 Annual Meeting, held June 6-10 in Baltimore, Md. In addition to the more than 100 continuing education sessions, more than 2,000 scientific papers and posters were presented at the meeting and more than 165 companies were represented on the exhibit hall floor.

New this year was a pre-meeting symposium on best practices for medical internal radiation doses. It provided an update on the current status of radiopharmaceutical therapy (RPT) with a particular emphasis on the key role played by dosimetry. RPT, or therapeutic nuclear medicine, is an underutilized modality with great potential; dosimetry can provide guidelines for safer and more effective treatment planning, in addition to providing insight into tumor dose-response relations.

The Annual Meeting officially opened with the SNMMI plenary session on Sunday, June 7, as Dr. François Bernard, MD, presented the Henry N. Wagner Jr, MD, Lecture, “Accelerating Nuclear Medicine with Cylotron-Produced 99mTc.” With current reliance on aging international reactors for a supply of this most commonly used medical radionuclide, the development of a domestic, reliable source is critical. Later that day, Rosemary Gibson from the Hastings Center presented “The Human Face of Quality and Patient Safety” at the SNMMI Technologist Section plenary.

Quality and safety went hand-in-hand with research advances as a constant theme throughout the meeting. At the press conference, the new president of SNMMI, Hossein Jadvar, MD, PhD, MPH, MBA, FACNM, emphasized the society’s continued focus on quality of care and patient safety. The society’s Department of Evidence and Quality is developing evidence-based, appropriate use criteria for procedures, beginning with those most frequently ordered. Jadvar stated, “The development of appropriate use criteria will help establish standards—greatly benefiting patients.”

He also announced the creation of a Therapy Center of Excellence, which will bring together a multi-disciplinary group of experts in targeted radionuclide therapy to assist in the development of emerging agents, provide advocacy for regulatory approval and advance the use of approved agents. “We have entered the frontier of personalized and precision medicine, and we are the pioneers,” Jadvar said. “I cannot imagine a more exciting time to be in the nuclear medicine field.”

SNMMI honored several leaders in the field at its two plenary sessions. Michael E. Phelps, PhD, the Norton Simon professor and chair of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Department of Molecular & Medical Pharmacology, was named as this year’s recipient of the Georg Charles de Hevesy Nuclear Pioneer Award for his contributions to the nuclear medicine profession. Best known as the inventor of positron emission tomography (the PET scanner), he has made major contributions to the field for more than four decades.

David W. Townsend, PhD, professor in the Department of Diagnostic Imaging at the National University Hospital of Singapore and director of the A*STAR-NUS Clinical Imaging Research Center in Singapore, received the prestigious Paul C. Aebersold Award for achievement in basic nuclear medicine. He introduced 3D PET imaging and developed a practical and effective PET/CT camera that enables nuclear medicine and molecular imaging professionals to produce high-quality images for more than three million patients each year.

The special plenary session welcomed the new leadership team for SNMMI. In addition to President Jadvar, it includes Sally W. Schwarz, MS, RPh, BCNP, in the position of president-elect, and Bennett S. Greenspan, MD, MS, FACNM, FACR, as vice president-elect. The leadership for SNMMI’s Technologist Section also changed hands during the meeting, with Aaron Scott, MIS, CNMT, NCAA, SNMMI-TS, taking the helm as president and Sara G. Johnson, MBA, CNMT, NCT, FSNMMI-TS, serving as president-elect.

Also announced was the SNMMI 2015 Image of the Year. The honor was given to Matthias Eder, PhD, and his colleagues at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany, and at the Department of Nuclear Medicine at University Hospital Heidelberg for their image (scientific paper #63)—illustrating the potential effectiveness of a novel theranostic, PSMA-617, for treating patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer, which is difficult to control and currently has a poor prognosis. PSMA-617 has the combined capability of diagnosis and therapy.

The SNMMI Annual Meeting included a Patient Education Day. More than 60 patients and caregivers attended sessions on advances in nuclear medicine and molecular imaging affecting diagnosis and treatment of a variety of conditions, including thyroid cancer, heart disease, and dementia. Presentations and break-out sessions addressed issues and concerns from a patient perspective and connect attendees with advocate organizations and leading experts in various disease areas.

SNMMI has made many of the annual meeting sessions available online through its Virtual Meeting, so that those who could not attend can still benefit and earn credits (CME, ACPE, and VOICE) for advancing their knowledge and expertise. The Virtual Meeting captured 100 of the most popular sessions, featuring more than 150 hours of content from the opening plenary through the Highlights Session, plus the molecular imaging, radiopharmaceutical, and data and instrumentation basic science summary sessions.

The SNMMI 2016 Annual Meeting will take place June 11-15 in San Diego, Calif. For more information, visit www.snmmi.org.

 

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About the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) is an international scientific and medical organization dedicated to raising public awareness about nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, a vital element of today’s medical practice that adds an additional dimension to diagnosis, changing the way common and devastating diseases are understood and treated and helping provide patients with the best health care possible.

SNMMI’s more than 18,000 members set the standard for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine practice by creating guidelines, sharing information through journals and meetings and leading advocacy on key issues that affect molecular imaging and therapy research and practice. For more information, visit www.snmmi.org.