Frontiers in Molecular Imaging: State-of-the-Art PET Imaging in Oncology, Cardiology, Neurology

The Division of Nuclear Medicine was fortunate enough to hold a symposium on Nov 21, 2019 entitled: “Frontiers in Molecular Imaging: State-of- the-Art PET Imaging in Oncology, Cardiology, Neurology”, backed by a great leadership from the department chairman Dr. Jules Sumkin. The venue was the Cathedral Room on the top floor of the Oaklander Hotel on the University of Pittsburgh campus. The symposium was organized in part to commemorate the long career of our very own radiochemist, Chet Mathis, PhD, who invented and validated the Pittsburgh compound-B (PiB). This PET radiotracer capable of imaging beta amyloid plaques aids in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, and has spawned an entire field of neuroimaging of dementias. A truly world class faculty from top institutions had graced the the event. The keynote speaker Dr. Martin Pomper, MD, PhD, the Director of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging at Johns Hopkins University spoke about 'Precision Imaging' and showcased how his own work in PSMA research has the potential to revolutionize prostate cancer imaging and treatment. We had local speakers Yvonne Eisele, PhD and Prem Soman, MD, PhD, who spoke about developments in cardiac amyloidosis imaging. This was followed by UPMC nuclear medicine faculty Ashok Muthukrishnan, MD, MS, and Shyam Srinivas, MD, PhD, who gave a snapshot of the exciting world of nuclear theranostics. A wonderful history of PET imaging technologies was interestingly narrated by Dr. Terry Jones who had chronicled his early days in the development of PET scanners. He spoke about his colleague and friend David Townsend, PhD, who developed the first whole body PET/CT scanner at UPMC in 2002 that completely revolutionized the concept of cancer imaging. Another guest lecturer Jacob Hooker, PhD, an accomplished radiochemist from the Martinos Center at Massachusetts General Hospital recounted about the use his innovative histone deacetylase tracers in PET/MR scanners for the imaging of various psychiatric diseases. And lastly, we were all treated to the story of the creation of the PiB compound from the inventor himself, Dr. Chet Mathis. The symposium was well received by approximately 80 attendees made up of physicians, researchers, and industry partners from the molecular imaging field. Our department hopes we can capitalize on the success of this symposium and continue to hold such events in the future.