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Learnings from SNMMI: What’s shaping the future of nuclear and molecular imaging?

 

 

The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI)’s 2015 Annual Meeting (June 6-10, Baltimore, MD) is almost over, and it’s obvious that nuclear medicine – once known as “unclear” medicine – is seeing a shift toward digital technologies and a renewed focus on analytics. Nuclear and molecular imaging is becoming clearer, sharper and more cost-effective. And, both clinicians and patients are driving this change.

In conversations with partners, clinicians and manufacturers, we’re seeing a few key themes emerge from the meeting:

 

  • Clinicians are demanding integrated and data-based technologies – More and more clinicians are looking for ways to quantify images – while pictures can be subjective, being able to compare the change in the size of a tumor before and after treatment allows clinicians to objectively determine the extent of the disease and effectiveness of treatment. As clinicians look to implement more preemptive and definitive treatment programs, they are demanding access to integrated, comprehensive data on the patient’s diagnostic history. Since radiology continues to remain at the heart of diagnosis, access to more integrated diagnostic imaging technology will continue to be critical for improving patient outcomes.
  • Growing focus on personalized medicine – With access to more data, clinicians are looking for ways to customize treatment for patients, based on their anatomy and specific disease. Data coupled with digitally advanced imaging tools can help clinicians make faster and more decisive disease detection, leading to more patient-specific therapy guided by molecular imaging. With patients becoming more engaged in their care, clinicians also have the opportunity to collaborate with patients to ensure more effective treatment. The expanding toolkit of molecular imaging agents and biomarkers featured at the meeting could open new dimensions to personalized medicine.
  • Not all innovation is created equal – The imaging industry is seeing a dynamic growth in innovation. Digitization for example, has brought about a revolution in the higher quality imaging, at a lower cost. But not all innovation is created equal. A growing trend in the industry is hybrid imaging – combining two hardware solutions to create a single, enhanced imaging visualization tool. Some of these ideas offer more clinical promise than others: for example, PET/CT combines both the molecular and anatomical view to allow clinicians a broader perspective into the patient’s condition. We have seen more adoption of this technology, along with SPECT/CT across the board. Other hybrid imaging tools like PET/MR have generated excitement with researchers, but the broader clinical community is still exploring the economic and clinical benefits. The good news is that we are continuing to evolve and as the industry continues to ride the innovation wave, it will be critical to take a step back and make sure innovations meet the broader goals of increasing clinical performance, enhancing the patient experience and providing economic value. 

 

These are exciting times for nuclear and molecular imaging. We look forward to continuing the conversation with key stakeholders as new ways of shaping the future of the industry unfold.

Kirill Shalyaev

General Manager, Advanced Molecular Imaging, Philips

Kirill holds a PhD in Chemistry from Princeton University, and has been involved in the development, and subsequent market introductions of industry-first imaging technologies.

 

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