SNM’s 2010 Annual Meeting reveals latest developments in molecular imaging and nuclear medicine

More than 5,100 physicians, technologists and members of the molecular imaging and nuclear medicine communities gathered in Salt Lake City for SNM’s 57th Annual Meeting, held June 5-9. The meeting featured more than 1,400 scientific papers that represented groundbreaking research and development worldwide in molecular imaging and nuclear medicine.

“SNM’s 57th Annual Meeting brought together basic and clinical scientists representing all aspects of molecular imaging,” said Dominique Delbeke, Ph.D., M.D., who was inducted as president of SNM during the meeting. “Those who attended the meeting are conducting research that represents the future of clinical practice and patient care.”

A highlight of the Annual Meeting’s first plenary session, held Sunday, June 6, was the Henry J. Wagner Jr. Lectureship, delivered by Larry Kessler, Sc.D., professor and chair of the department of health services, School of Public Health, University of Washington. In the lecture, “Strange Bedfellows? Comparative Effectiveness Research, Molecular Imaging Medical Practice, and Health Policy,” Kessler discussed both the challenges and promise of evidence-based medicine with respect to molecular imaging and how the health policy and decision-making landscape may change.

Two prestigious SNM awards were presented during the first plenary lecture. Bengt Roland Långström, Ph.D., a professor in the department of biochemistry and organic chemistry at Uppsala University in Sweden, was named this year’s recipient of the Georg Charles de Hevesy Nuclear Pioneer Award for his contributions to the nuclear medicine profession. In addition, Chester A. Mathis, Ph.D., director of the PET facility in the department of radiology at the University of Pittsburgh, was named the recipient of the prestigious Paul C. Aebersold Award for his long-standing work in the field of neuroimaging.

At the second plenary session on Monday, June 7, Sung-Cheng (Henry) Huang, D.Sc., a pioneer in the development of positron emission tomography (PET), presented the Cassen lectureship on the perspective of quantitative imaging. The lecture focused on learning more about molecular processes and pathways in cellular function using labeled biomarkers and integrating information for practical applications. Huang said that as imaging technology becomes more sophisticated, there is a greater need for analytical approaches that can analyze the image data, extract biological information and determine its medical relevance.

Also on June 7, SNM leadership called attention to three shortages that are currently plaguing the medical community: a shortage of radioisotopes, a shortage of reimbursement and a shortage of jobs for physicians and technologists.

The 57th Annual Meeting concluded on Wednesday, June 9, with an overview of the cutting-edge research presented throughout the sessions. The research demonstrated groundbreaking advances in many areas, including research on molecular imaging to identify the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease and research on the detection of recurrent prostate cancer.

“We had a tremendous international presence at our meeting, with molecular imaging science as our common language,” said Peter Herscovitch, M.D., chair of SNM’s Scientific Program Committee. “Scientific abstract submissions came from 70 countries. In fact, 56% of this year’s abstract submissions came from outside the United States.”

Herscovitch said that the common theme that linked all of these participants together was the focus on using molecular imaging to understand the mechanisms of disease, to diagnose and determine the extent of disease and, ultimately, to improve the health of patients.

About SNM — Advancing Molecular Imaging and Therapy

SNM is an international scientific and medical organization dedicated to raising public awareness about what molecular imaging is and how it can help provide patients with the best health care possible. SNM members specialize in 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.

SNM’s more than 17,000 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 http://www.snm.org.

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