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molecular imaging's potential

SNM Seeks to Improve Patient Care by Advancing Molecular Imaging and Therapy

by Robert Garment , Executive Editor
The Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM), the world's largest society for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine professionals, will initiate an outreach program seeking to "inform legislators and regulatory representatives about the potential of molecular imaging and therapy to revolutionize modern medicine" during its 54th Annual Meeting, June 2-6 in Washington, D.C.

More than 200 members are set to discuss a host of related issues during a planned Capitol Hill Day on June 5. Actions include advancing information about molecular imaging and therapy, pleas to restore federal funding for basic science research in nuclear medicine and a call for continued dialogue to prevent deep cuts in medical imaging services for Medicare beneficiaries as part of the federal Deficit Reduction Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 2005.

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"We are on the brink of a revolutionary change in medicine. The catalyst for this change is molecular imaging, the use of state-of-the-art imaging technologies (such as PET, SPECT, MRI and others) to see, define and determine the biology of disease, offering a potential revolution in patient care," said SNM President Martin P. Sandler. "Molecular imaging is emerging at the forefront of 'personalized medicine'-the development of patient-specific information that allows tailored treatment of disease," he added.

"It is imperative that our legislators and regulators understand the potential of molecular imaging and therapy for American health care and the issues related to advancing that potential. This is why we are taking advantage of our meeting location and bringing our messages to Capitol Hill," Sandler explained. "Molecular imaging is critical for detecting disease earlier, for individualizing treatment, for improving diagnosis and for facilitating drug discovery and development. Through advances in genetics, biochemistry and nanotechnology, molecular imaging is playing an increasingly significant role in diagnosing and treating cancer, dementias (Alzheimer's), and movement, seizure and psychiatric disorders," noted Sandler.

Here are a few of the issues that SNM members will be discussing during the week of June 3.

* Increasing Understanding: The science of molecular imaging continues to advance, bringing new insights about diseases. Through the use of radiotracer imaging (PET, PET/CT, SPECT/CT), MRI, MRS, optical imaging and ultrasound, molecular imaging is playing a pivotal role in guiding the management of cancer (for diagnosis, staging, assessing drug treatment, monitoring therapy and evaluating an outcome) and in allowing a more personalized approach to the evaluation and management of heart disease.

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