The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has signed an agreement on Friday with a consortium of 11 Japanese universities and other institutions to strengthen human resources development in the field of nuclear medicine around the world.
The Practical Arrangement will boost training opportunities for medical professionals in IAEA Member States in the use of imaging techniques to diagnose and manage non-communicable diseases, with a special emphasis on degenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
The Practical Arrangement, signed on the margins of the 28-30 November IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology, will enable the IAEA to increase assistance to countries in clinical practice and research, along with opportunities for certified continuous professional development in the Japanese institutions. Another focus area is the development and implementation of nuclear medicine curricula and academic programmes.
“This arrangement will support IAEA projects in human health,” said IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the IAEA Department of Technical Cooperation Dazhu Yang. “It will focus on fields where Japan can offer expertise in support of our Member States.”
Every year, over 35 million nuclear medicine examinations are performed globally, particularly to diagnose and manage cancer, cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative disorders.
These types of conditions are a growing problem with a global rise in life expectancy. However, countries often lack programmes to train specialists and technical personnel to facilitate diagnosis and treatment. For some degenerative disorders of the brain, such as Alzheimer’s, diagnostic imaging is crucial for early detection, which allows for a better management of the disease.
“Japan is proactively promoting medical care projects,” Kiyoto Tsuji, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, said in his statement at this week’s ministerial conference. “This collaboration will put nuclear science technology research and development into practical use, and bring about positive socio-economic impact in a sustainable manner.”
The consortium includes leading Japanese institutions in the field of nuclear medicine: the Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, the Fujita Health University School of Medicine, the Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, the International University of Health and Welfare, the Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medicine, the Kyoto University Hospital, the National Cancer Center, the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, the Southern Tohoku Research Institute for Neuroscience, the Tohoku University and the Tokyo Medical and Dental University.
The IAEA assists Member States in nuclear medicine through the coordination of research projects and the provision of expertise, training, equipment and internationally harmonized safety guidelines.