A recent National Academy of Sciences report that examined the competitiveness of U.S. chemical research includes statements that support government relations initiatives of SNM, the world's largest society for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine professionals.

"Members of the Committee on Benchmarking the Research Competitiveness of the United States in Chemistry included information in their report about the potential negative effect of Department of Energy funding cuts to basic science research for in vivo molecular imaging and the need for domestic radioisotope production," said SNM President Alexander J. McEwan, who speaks for the society's 16,000 physician, technologist and scientist members. "The society can refer to this document - authored by some of the most prominent chemists in the country - as it continues to validate and promote molecular imaging and nuclear medicine needs for inclusion in the federal budget," added McEwan, professor and chair of the Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Alberta, and director of oncologic imaging at Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Canada. "SNM hopes that Senate and House appropriators take notice of the concerns raised in the report," noted McEwan.

NAS - through the National Research Council - released the report, "The Future of U.S. Chemistry Research: Benchmarks and Challenges." The publication indicates that DOE funding cuts in basic chemistry "may destabilize U.S. leadership in the area of in vivo molecular imaging." In addition, it notes, "there is no U.S. facility dedicated to year-round production of radioisotopes, severely compromising nuclear medicine practice and radioisotope R&D needed to advance targeted molecular therapy and other radioisotope needs for the future."

The results of a separate NAS study that is reviewing the 'state of the science' for nuclear medicine - a multidisciplinary science and medical specialty that uses radiopharmaceutical agents and radiation-detection instruments for diagnosis and treatment of disease and for biomedical research - are expected to be released later this summer. NAS experts - advisers to the nation on medicine, science and engineering - are expected to provide findings and recommendations on the future needs for radiopharmaceutical development for the diagnosis and treatment of human disease; future needs for computational and instrument development for more precise localization of radiotracers in normal and aberrant cell physiologies; national impediments to the efficient entry of promising new radiopharmaceutical compounds into clinical feasibility studies and strategies to overcome them and impacts of shortages of isotopes and highly trained radiochemists on nuclear medicine research; and short- and long-term strategies to alleviate such shortages.

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About SNM - Advancing Molecular Imaging and Therapy

SNM is an international scientific and professional organization of more than 16,000 members dedicated to promoting the science, technology and practical applications of molecular imaging and nuclear medicine to diagnose, manage and treat diseases in women, men and children. Founded more than 50 years ago, SNM continues to provide essential resources for health care practitioners and patients; publish the most prominent peer-reviewed journal in the field (the Journal of Nuclear Medicine); host the premier annual meeting for medical imaging; sponsor research grants, fellowships and awards; and train physicians, technologists, scientists, physicists, chemists and radiopharmacists in state-of-the-art imaging procedures and advances. SNM members have introduced - and continue to explore - biological and technological innovations in medicine that noninvasively investigate the molecular basis of diseases, benefiting countless generations of patients. SNM is based in Reston, Va.; additional information can be found online at http://www.snm.org/.

Contact: Maryann Verrillo
Society of Nuclear Medicine