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Source: International Atomic Energy Agency – IAEA

Medical imaging encompasses nuclear medicine and radiology and is a key tool for screening, early diagnosis, evaluation of disease location and spread, and prognosis. Its applications are essential to support the selection of therapy, as well as to evaluate the therapy response and follow up, particularly in the era of personalized medicine. Radiotracers can map the disease within a patient and guide targeted treatment using PET-CT, or positron emission tomography-computed tomography imaging. This includes molecular imaging, which focuses on imaging molecules and enables the visualization, characterisation and quantification of processes taking place at cellular levels.

“The importance of the personalized medicine approach is that the focus is on selecting the right therapy for the right patient,” Paez said. “The cornerstone of personalized medicine is theranostics, a combination of the terms therapeutics and diagnostics. This combines the use of one molecule labelled with a radioactive compound to identify the disease location and a second radioactive drug to deliver a targeted therapy to treat the main tumour and any spread.”

The conference is of interest to nuclear medicine physicians, radiologists, technologists and radiographers, medical physicists, radiochemists and radiopharmacists, and other scientists working in all aspects of managing cancer patients.

“The IPET-2020 conference will provide a forum to review clinical aspects of cancer management and to examine the role of multimodality imaging techniques, combined with targeted therapies,” said Marcus Hacker, Manager of the Clinical Department of Nuclear Medicine at Vienna General Hospital and Professor at the Medical University of Vienna, who will present in the final plenary session. “By displaying the biochemistry of the living body, you can improve the prediction of outcomes so you can better guide treatment and have a better prediction of the prognosis of the patient.”

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi will open the conference, followed by remarks from Najat Mokhtar, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, and May Abdel-Wahab, Director of the IAEA’s Division of Human Health.

Representatives of the World Health Organization, the European Society of Radiology, the European Association of Nuclear Medicine and the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging will join Paez in the first plenary session of keynote lectures on Tuesday. On Thursday, the role of medical imaging in COVID-19 patients will be the focus of an interactive session.

About 2000 participants are anticipated to tune in to IPET-2020, the fourth conference of its kind and the first going fully virtual; it follows three earlier conferences organized by the IAEA in 2007, 2011 and 2015. Follow the livestream of IPET-2020 conference proceedings from 24-26 November and the #IPET2020 hashtag on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Read more about the IAEA’s work in nuclear medicine and diagnostic imaging.

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