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SNM ad urges congress to fund nuclear medicine research

RESTON, Va.SNM, the worlds largest society for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine professionals, took out a full-page, full-color ad in Tuesdays Roll Call urging Congress to fund basic nuclear medicine research. Congress: Dont turn your back on future discoveries. Support DOE funding for nuclear medicine research, notes the ad in Roll Call, a publication that provides news of legislative and political interest to Capitol Hill legislators.

Say goodbye to the next Einstein, Salk or Madame Curie, directs the headline above a large photograph featuring a group of scientists with turned backs, walking away. In using its resources, SNM has chosen this adwith its frank messageto remind Congress of the losses U.S. health care will face if $20 million in funding is not restored explicitly for nuclear medicine research in the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science budget for fiscal year 2008 and beyond, said SNM President Alexander J. McEwan.

The ad notes the support of the National Academy of Sciences, which has concluded that DOE funding cuts will destabilize U.S. leadership in nuclear medicine and compromise Americas ability to develop and produce new diagnostic tests and future personalized therapies. In a recent reportthe culmination of a 13-month investigation by a multidisciplinary team of nuclear medicine expertsthe NAS stated that expanded use of nuclear medicine techniques could potentially facilitate the implementation of personalized medicine and, in so doing, could accelerate, simplify and reduce the cost of delivering and improving health care.

If Congress does not restore this funding, it risks losing valuable innovations in the detection and treatment of disease that could improve the lives of millions of patients, said Peter S. Conti, chair of SNMs Government Relations Committee. Congress first began funding nuclear medicine research with the passage of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, and that funding was continued for a half centuryuntil it was drastically cut in the fiscal year 2006 budget. Now Congress is preparing to finalize the fiscal year 2008 appropriations for DOE, explained Conti, and can restore that funding. DOE is the only federal agency funding this type of basic research, which is critical to the development of new treatments and procedures in the field and to the development of new paradigms of planning and implementing new treatment strategies, he added.

The Roll Call ad illustrates that brilliant researchers are leaving nuclear medicine research because of DOE budget cuts. It reminds legislators that previous funding over the past 50 years has produced state-of-the-art imaging equipment (like PET and SPECT) and tracers to pinpoint and treat cancers and heart and brain diseases for more than 20 million patients annually. SNM is urging legislators not to throw away the potential of future discoveries, said Conti. The ad tells legislators that this funding is a small investment. But the benefits are huge for millions of patients. The ad is part of a larger legislative and grassroots effort led by SNM to restore this funding.

Nuclear medicine and molecular imaging use state-of-the-art technology to view specific molecular processes in the bodyparticularly those processes that are important in various disease statesproviding a way to see, define and determine the biology of a disease (such as cancer and Alzheimers disease) and to improve patient care. More information about molecular imaging/nuclear medicine can be found on SNMs Web site at


Contact: Maryann Verrillo
Society of Nuclear Medicine

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