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SNM receives grant from AHRQ for comparative effectiveness research

RESTON, Va.SNM has been awarded a $48,000 grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to hold a conference to develop research on the comparative effectiveness of positron emission tomography (PET) and other molecular imaging techniques. The primary emphasis will be on the diagnosis and management of cancer patients, but both cardiology and neurology questions will also be addressed.

"Comparative effectiveness research is essential to the future of medical imaging and improved patient care," said Michael M. Graham, Ph.D., M.D., president of SNM and principal investigator. "This grant will allow us to effectively define how to carry out the research needed to educate the health care community about the benefits of PET and PET/CT for the management and care of cancer patients."

Three years ago, SNM's PET Center of Excellence created a PET Utilization Task Force to address specific challenges within the field. The Research Working Group, a subset of the PET Utilization Task Force (directed by Graham), met last August in Denver, Colo., to begin development of a cost effectiveness research workshop. This workshop is a first step in the development of substantial cost and clinical effectiveness research focused on PET/CT and molecular imaging in the fields of oncology, cardiology and neurology. A key component of this workshop is the collaboration of experts in molecular imaging together with leaders in health services research with the goal of defining the optimal methodology and producing a plan for one or more molecular imaging effectiveness research projects.

With the grant from AHRQ, SNM will host the workshop, "Comparative Effectiveness in Molecular Imaging," July 21-22, in the Washington, D.C. area. The two-day workshop will review the current information on molecular imaging, current healthcare costs and how clinical and cost effectiveness research can be a valuable method of addressing all of these issues for managing the treatment and care of cancer patients in today's health care environment.

In addition to SNM's experts in PET/CT, the symposium will include experts from other areas of molecular imaging likely to be important in the future, and also investigators from the National Oncology PET Registry, who have experience in registries applied to PET utilization. Approximately 100-120 attendees will include decision makers from funding agencies, the academic imaging community, the surgical/clinical oncology, cardiology and neurology communities, and from the health services research community, industry and patient advocacy groups. The meeting will include focused discussion groups charged with the goal of formulating research plans. The result of the meeting will provide guidance for how to optimally approach future molecular imaging comparative effectiveness research.

"While many studies on molecular imaging have demonstrated clinical potential, there is a need for strong comparative effectiveness evidence," Graham said. "This is why it is so important that we formulate a comparative effectiveness research plan to evaluate molecular imaging for the management of cancer."

Establishing clinical and cost effectiveness research for molecular imaging has been a top priority for Graham, and one of his major goals since taking office as SNM president in June 2009.


Contact: Amy Shaw
Society of Nuclear Medicine

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