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Life-Saving Radiopharmaceuticals Focus of IAEA International Symposium


The 3rd IAEA International Symposium on Trends in Radiopharmaceuticals (ISTR-2023) is taking place at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria, from 17 to 21 April. (Photo: M. Platonova/IAEA)

More than 500 professionals from 86 countries are meeting this week for the 3rd IAEA International Symposium on Trends in Radiopharmaceuticals (ISTR-2023), which opened yesterday in Vienna. Participants from academia, industry, healthcare institutions, regulatory bodies and other organizations working in the production of radioisotopes and radiopharmaceuticals will be discussing the most recent developments and challenges in the field.

Radiopharmaceuticals are an important tool for better understanding of human diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, and for developing effective treatments. 

In a video message opening the symposium, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi emphasized the vital role science plays in finding solutions and giving people hope. “The cancer epidemic continues to take its toll on individuals and societies,” he said. “Smart radiopharmaceuticals for nuclear medicine techniques offer unprecedented opportunities for better diagnosis and more efficient therapies," he said, adding that "making such a positive impact across the world is only possible if emerging radiopharmaceuticals can be produced efficiently.”

Topics covered during the week-long symposium will include ways of improving the efficiency of the development, production and uses of diagnostic, therapeutic and theranostic radioisotopes and radiopharmaceuticals; the latest technologies in the production of new radiopharmaceuticals; regulatory and licensing issues to be overcome; and how increased interaction among developers, scientists, regulators, manufacturers and private enterprises can help countries achieve Sustainable Development Goals on good health and well-being (SDG3) and SDG9: industry, innovation and infrastructure.

During the symposium, participants will also have the opportunity to visit 25 exhibitions from 15 countries as well as various panel discussions and thematic side events, covering aspects such as strengthening relationships among stakeholders including industry, and the transfer of technology and capacity building through education, certification and training.

The IAEA assists countries in the safe, reliable and sustainable operation of radioisotope facilities and promotes international standards and good practices for production and quality control. More than 90 countries take part in IAEA activities on the production and application of radiopharmaceuticals. The IAEA also works with its Collaborating Centres and Member States in Coordinated Research Project schemes to develop new radiopharmaceuticals and production routes, which are then transferred to countries through technical cooperation projects. The Agency is also forging new partnerships to support lower income countries in radiopharmaceutical applications.

The IAEA has also been supporting the new generation of scientists and technologists through face to face, virtual, and hybrid training programmes. As part of its efforts to support the sustainable future envisioned in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the IAEA is specifically recognizing the contributions to the symposium of students, postdoctoral fellows and young professionals working in the radiopharmaceuticals field. The symposium will feature a speed mentoring opportunity and a Young Professionals Award to honour those with the most promising and impressive contributions to the Symposium.

“We will crown the week with events focused on women in radiopharmaceutical sciences and on the next generation,” said Melissa Denecke, Director of the IAEA Division of Physical and Chemical Sciences, and a Scientific Secretary of the symposium. “The challenges of the future to ensure accessibility of radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostics and therapy for everyone also require effort to nurture the future workforce and to inclusively tap into the best talent. I am excited that we have weaved addressing these needs into this ISTR2023 programme.” 

Follow the symposium via #ISTR2023 on social media and watch all sessions online here.

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