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IAEA Partners with SNMMI to Strengthen Nuclear Medicine Training Worldwide

Vienna, Austria

From left: Thomas Pascual (IAEA), Satoshi Minoshima (SNMMI), Diana Paez (IAEA), May Abdel-Wahab (IAEA), Meera Venkatesh (IAEA), Bennett Greenspan (SNMMI), Virginia Pappas (SNMMI), Enrique Estrada-Lobato (IAEA) and Rodolfo Nunez-Miller (IAEA). (Photo: O. Morozova/IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) signed an agreement today with the U.S.-based Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) to increase training opportunities in this important medical field for health professionals across the globe.

The agreement builds on a partnership between the two organizations to make more educational programmes available worldwide, particularly in the field of molecular imaging. It also foresees the development of materials for the IAEA Human Health Campus – a free online resource visited monthly by over 5,000 health professionals.

“We are witnessing a growing demand for nuclear medicine services to manage an increasing number of patients suffering from non-communicable diseases, such as cancer,” said Diana Paez, head of the IAEA’s Nuclear Medicine and Diagnostic Imaging Section at the IAEA. “Cooperation with professional and scientific societies such as SNMMI is essential to maximise the support the Agency can provide to its Member States.”

Cancer and cardiovascular conditions are the leading causes of death in the world, accounting for 26.5 million of the 56.4 million deaths recorded in 2015. Nuclear medicine is a key aspect in the management of non-communicable diseases – from early detection to monitoring a patient’s response to treatment.

Advanced diagnostic techniques, such as positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT), also play a vital role in diagnosing dementia. According to the World Health Organization, dementia affects 47 million people worldwide, of which nearly 60 percent live in low- and middle-income countries. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, and as there is no cure for the disease, only early and accurate detection can help delay its progression.

PET/CT uses small amounts of radioactive materials – radiotracers – to evaluate organ and tissue functions. By identifying changes at the molecular and cellular levels, the technique can help detect the early onset of disease before it becomes evident in other tests.

“We look forward to working with the IAEA to advance nuclear medicine’s diagnostic and therapeutic applications through training and educational materials,” said SNMMI President Bennett S. Greenspan. “Broadening access to information will strengthen the knowledge of professionals and enhance patient care.”

With more than 15,000 members, SNMMI is a leading organization in the field of molecular imaging and nuclear medicine. Since the IAEA began working with the organization in 2012, 600 people from Asia and Latin America have benefited from training opportunities in advanced diagnostic techniques, such as PET/CT.

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