WMIC brings the world of molecular imaging to Georgia this week

The World Molecular Imaging Congress being held in Savannah, Ga., from September 18 – 21 is in full swing and bringing new focus to the worldwide molecular imaging agenda.

The program, organized by the World Molecular Imaging Society (WMIS), includes 35 featured and 168 oral presentations as well as an exhibition of more than 60 companies showcasing the latest molecular imaging technologies, from PET, SPECT and optical technologies as well as ultrasound and MRI. Top items of discussion include new technology and software development, preclinical cell and tissue as well as in vivo studies, groundbreaking firsts in human clinical trials, chemistry and imaging probes.

“As the world’s gathering place for all who are interested in molecular imaging, the WMIC scientific program and technology showcase cover a broad spectrum of basic and translational research,” said Anna Wu, MD, PhD, WMIS president elect for 2013-2014 and professor and vice chair of molecular and medical pharmacology at the University of California, Los Angeles, in a press release. “Our goal as a field is to optimize basic, preclinical and translational research leading to medical and molecular imaging discoveries, greater linkages between research and real world outcomes, and ultimately significant improvements in healthcare.”

Major highlights in research include nanotechnology imaging with MRI from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and a Stanford University study of breast-tumor specific protein imaging with ultrasound.

Yesterday’s events included a panel of top experts discussing topics ranging from multidisciplinary practice to challenges in the industry, most notably with clinical trials for important radiopharmaceuticals like PSMA, which is used for prostate-specific cancer imaging, and hypoxia-targeting drugs that seek out the oxygen-deprived areas of malignant tumors.

Hedvig Hircak, MD, PhD, chairman of radiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY, mentioned during the discussion that more attention should be given to honing clinical trials and having clear objectives in order to avoid scattered efforts in bringing new drugs to market. “We cannot have nine PSMA tracers in clinical trials around the world,” she stated, also remarking how the industry similarly shouldn’t have five agents for hypoxia on the table. Hircak called for more harmony and less waste in global efforts to produce important new radiopharmaceuticals. Excluding extraneous trials and refocusing efforts on promising drugs would bring better, faster results, but that would require sacrificing less-promising studies. “We have to find a way to sit around the table and say, okay guys, hypoxia agent A may not be ideal.”

The WMIS presents research and provides an educational forum in conjunction with the European Society for Molecular Imaging and Federation of Asian Societies for Molecular Imaging. Read on in the coming days for an exclusive interview with leadership from the 6th Congress of the WMIS. For more information visit www.wmicmeeting.org.