Annual SNM meeting covers all things molecular

June 12, 2009
James Brice

Plans for the 2009 SNM meeting in Toronto demonstrate the growing numbers and widening world of molecular imaging science and practice. Organizers expect nearly 4000 attendees drawn to 600 oral presentations and 1000 poster presentations covering everything from the basic chemistry of radiopharmaceutical design to growing evidence that FDG-PET/CT can indicate whether cancer therapies are working.

Plans for the 2009 SNM meeting in Toronto demonstrate the growing numbers and widening world of molecular imaging science and practice. Organizers expect nearly 4000 attendees drawn to 600 oral presentations and 1000 poster presentations covering everything from the basic chemistry of radiopharmaceutical design to growing evidence that FDG-PET/CT can indicate whether cancer therapies are working.

The meeting has been designed to appeal to the broad range of specialists making up the molecular imaging community, according to scientific program chair Frederic H. Fahey, D.Sc. That community includes nuclear medicine specialists, radiologists, cardiologists, technologists, chemists, physicians, and imaging service administrators.

To address their varied needs, Fahey and the organizing committee developed the most extensive continuing education program in the event's history. Ninety-two continuing education sessions are planned, including 13 categorical seminars on Saturday. The total has increased more than 40% since 2006, Fahey's first year as program chair.

In response to recommendations for the MI science group, five sessions will be devoted to bench-to-bedside issues covering cardiovascular, neuroscience, oncology, and other issues. During these sessions, one presentation will be devoted to basic science, another will consider translational trials, and a third will look at clinical applications.

CE sessions will also be devoted to basic science, self-assessment modules for the maintenance of certification, and multimodality and nonradioactive imaging education where ultrasound, MRI, and optical imaging are considered along with nuclear applications.

"That is an approach to help people see how the basic science aspects of our meeting are moving toward clinical implementation," Fahey said.

Another lecture series highlights SNM's nuclear medicine history initiative. Many pioneers of nuclear medicine in the 1940s and 1950s are still able to recollect key events for this oral history project. During Monday's history session, Dr. S. James Adelstein will consider the contribution of laboratories and scientists in New England, while Michael Welch, Ph.D., and Dr. Heinrich Schelbert will cover nuclear medicine pioneers who worked in St. Louis and southern California.

Of the 1600 scientific presentations, nearly one-third will relate to oncology, Fahey said. Response to therapy will be an important theme along with the use of radioactive probes and implants to treat cancer.

Numerous studies will also address the value of beta-amyloid-targeted PET agents for evaluating individuals with mild dementia and the promise of these probes for predicting who ultimately develops Alzheimer's disease.

Nuclear imaging continues to play a vital role in diagnosing heart disease. This year's focus will be on the performance of new SPECT imaging platforms.

In terms of plenary presentations, John F. Valliant, Ph.D, will present the Dr. Henry N. Wagner Jr. Lecture. Valliant will consider the promise of radiopharmaceutical probe development in context of the novel strategies employed for nonradioactive MI probes for early cancer, cardiovascular, and stem cell applications.

The annual Cassen Lecture presented on Monday by David Townsend, Ph.D., will discuss how the combination of function and structure from PET/CT enhances the role of both modalities for cancer imaging.

Continuing a 30-year tradition, Wagner will conclude the meeting with his annual lecture covering meeting highlights and their implication for the field.

"As always, the highlights lecture will be interesting and provocative," Fahey said.