July 2014

Nuclear Medicine is Safe and Effective

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear MedicineRadiation Medicine Centre (RMC) of BARC recently held a two-day seminar on Radiation Medicine Centre in the Service of the Nation where the effectiveness and positive benefits of nuclear medicine diagnostics and therapy were demonstrated.
RMC has been promoting the use of radioisotopes in medicine for research, clinical investigation and therapy since 1963. RMC also pro vides clinical researchers with pharmaceuticals labeled with suitable radioisotopes (radiopharmaceuticals) to use as tracers for their studies.
Nuclear medicine is considered to be one of the most classic examples of the peaceful application of nuclear energy in the welfare of mankind.
Dr M G R Rajan, Head, Radiation Medicine Centre, said, There are a lot of myths revolving around the practice of nuclear medicine, that is unsafe and harmful, but it is not. In fact, it is safer with better patient compliance than other modalities. The choice of the appropriate radiopharmaceutical makes the diagnosis very organic and disease specific, so there is no way that it can go wrong.
He added that RMC conducts over 9,000 SPECT and PET scans on patients, about 800 patients are given therapies with radioactive iodine and other isotopes, and 1,400 patients are referred for thyroid function tests.
Dr Ramesh V Asopa, Head, Clinical Nuclear Medicine Section, RMC said, Nuclear medicine is different from X-Ray, MRI or other scans,because it gives a functional picture of the organ, whether the organ is functioning normally or sub-normally which helps diagnosis greatly. We are also conducting some rarest scans which are either not available any- where else or are very expensive to carry out.
He further added, It is a misconception that radioactivity causes or aggravates cancer. The medicine administered in proper quantities for therapy causes no harm to the patients. Also, the patients are kept in total isolation and all necessary safety measures are taken so that the radioactivity is not passed on to anyone else.
Dr Sunita Sonavane, Nuclear Medicine Consultant said, The staff here is provided with adequate safety measures. The RMC has been working for 50 years and nobody has ever been harmed. So, this is enough to prove that nuclear medicine is absolutely safe. Nuclear medicine procedures are used safely in young children including babies who are a few days old.
RMC has also been researching on new innovations and diagnosis for various other illnesses.
Dr Savita Kulkarni, Senior Scien- tific Officer at RMC said, There are 35 million deaths in India due to TB and the death rate is two deaths per three minutes. This is very alarming, particularly with the emergence of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. Hence, we are identifying the viru- lence of different strains of Mycobac- terium tuberculosis in the context of their interaction with the patients immunity. We also carry out anti-TB drug testing service.
Dr Savita Kulkarni, Senior Scien- tific Officer at RMC said, There are 35 million deaths in India due to TB and the death rate is two deaths per three minutes. This is very alarming, particularly with the emergence of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. Hence, we are identifying the virulence of different strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the context of their interaction with the patients immunity. We also carry out anti-TB drug testing service.
RMC provides Fluorine-18 labelled radiopharmaceuticals to several hospitals across Mumbai including the Tata Memorial Hospital.

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