Happy 50th birthday to the Institute of Nuclear Medicine 

24/10/2011 00:00 

Fifty years of groundbreaking scientific discovery were celebrated during an anniversary lecture and reception for the Institute of Nuclear Medicine.

From left to right: Richard Murley, Dr Bomanji, Prof Ell, Prof Grant and Prof Rosen before the anniversary lecture

From left to right: Richard Murley, Dr Bomanji, Prof Ell, Prof Grant and Prof Rosen before the anniversary lecture

In the month that the institute took delivery of a new scanner which will revolutionise cancer care in the UK, luminaries from the field of nuclear medicine gathered at the Royal Society of Medicine in central London.

They paid tribute to the work of the Institute over the past five decades in unlocking medical mysteries for the benefit of patients through the work of UCL researchers and UCLH clinicians.

The new PET MR scanner - which will be housed in the UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre when it opens next year - is the latest advance in nuclear medicine. It brings together PET and MR tecnhology to deliver high quality and accurate information from deep inside the body during a single scanning session.

There are only a handful of the scanners available in the world and in addition to treating patients the Institute of Nuclear Medicine will use the machine for research purposes.

Dr Jamshed Bomanji, UCLH nuclear medicine consultant, said: “The institute started 50 years ago with a single counting probe. Today, after five decades it is one of the largest teaching and servicing hospital departments and has state-of-the-art equipment and an international reputation. This is all thanks to the staff and charities who have supported the institute over the five decades.”

Professor Malcolm Grant, president and provost of UCL, said: “This is one of the most powerful relationships I know between a university and a major hospital.”

He added that the relationship had helped ‘push forward our understanding of nuclear medicine and its diagnostic capabilities in improving the health of the nation’.

Guest of honour was Bruce Rosen, professor of radiology and health sciences & technology at Harvard Medical School, who gave a lecture on ‘PET MR and its Future’.

He said: “Many people will flock to your cancer centre because of the power of [PET MR] combined.”

Professor Peter Ell spoke about the highlights of each decade since the Institute’s creation. These included:

  • Designing and testing the first European nuclear medicine brain scanner in the early 70s
  • Designing and testing the first dedicated mobile renal function apparatus in the 80s
  • Carrying out the first-in-man perfusion studies in the brain in the early 90s
  • Introducing the first UK bone density assessment in osteoporosis
  • Introducing PET CT in cancer management
  • Pioneering sentinel lymph node detection as a surgery sparing procedure in breast cancer
  • Investigating drug efficacy in schizophrenia,
  • At the turn of the century, supporting the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) with evidence of myocardial perfusion studies
  • Moving to the new UCH and commissioning a new radiochemistry laboratory and expanding the therapy program.

UCLH chairman Richard Murley thanked UCLH Charity for funding the scanner. He added that the institute was one of the ‘most significant manifestations of the strong link between the hospital trust and the university’.


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