Planning for our Future
When I was first approached to consider serving as President of the Society for the next two years, I immediately considered what I would like to change or improve in the way that the society functions. I felt that the central theme for the next two years should be to make the society a vital entity for all professionals involved in nuclear medicine in Australia and New Zealand.
We have many different roles, from those involved in basic research in developing new tools and probes, to those who represent the large organisations that make the sophisticated machinery that we rely upon, to those running a business employing people and providing an essential service, and finally to those involved in the clinical hospital environment with all of the challenges that this encompasses today. To satisfy such a diverse membership relies on solid basics: maintaining a healthy Society budget, reaching out to all involved no matter in which part of the discipline they work, recognising the diversity in people and practices that exists, and meeting the real needs of the members.
We should not lose sight of the fact that, for all the faults we can find, nuclear medicine in Australia is in a healthy position at present. This will continue as long as we stay committed to our core values and practices and continue to innovate. With some imagination, and a good degree of determination, we have been able to offer patients many of the latest developments in the field. In the management of neuroendocrine tumours we are the envy of our colleagues in North America and many European countries; also, the relatively recent introduction of PET scanning for prostate cancer with radiolabelled PSMA has probably had the greatest penetration in Australia of any country internationally at present, with partner therapies now beginning to emerge. Such innovation attracts funding.
The local biotech scene is gathering momentum, especially in the area of radiopharmaceuticals and theranostics, with companies like Sirtex leading the way with their profile on the international stage. A number of others are looking to follow in their path. ANSTO has one of the few “young” nuclear reactors worldwide which uses low-enriched uranium fuel, with tremendous production capacity to provide the basic nuclides that we will need into the future such as 99Mo and 177Lu.
Alan Kay, the US computer scientist, once said that “the best way to predict the future is to invent it”. We find ourselves in that position today. Which direction will multimodality hybrid imaging take? What new theranostics are just around the corner? How we involve ourselves in and prepare for these developments and embrace them will help to shape our future. Nuclear medicine has never enjoyed a more essential role in clinical medicine than it does today. The ANZSNM is moving towards developing the foundations for individuals involved in nuclear medicine to maintain best practice, embrace the early adoption of new technologies, and help to deliver the evidence required to translate these new developments into the mainstream. The future is indeed now.
Please get in touch with me with your ideas as to how we move our profession and this Society forward into the future: email@example.com
Dale Bailey PhD