Indian Journal of Nuclear Medicine
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 5-10

Nuclear medicine in India: A historical journey

Department of Nuclear Medicine, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Anshu Rajnish Sharma
Department of Nuclear Medicine, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Four Bungalows, Andheri (W), Mumbai - 400 061, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-3919.245053

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Evidence-based historical accounts of critical events, which shaped nuclear medicine in India today, are presented in this article. There was parallel activity happening in the northern and western region of India in the early 60s. Radiation Medicine Center (RMC) at Mumbai inaugurated in September 1963 by Dr. Bhabha; and Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences, Delhi dedicated to the nation in February 1964. The isotope division of Bhabha Atomic Research Center endured as the backbone in the supply of indigenously produced medical radioisotopes in research reactors APSARA (1958) and CIRUS (1960). Design and dispatch of economical generators (loaded with low specific activity 99Mo) with indigenously designed solvent extraction (Methyl Ethyl Ketone) technique had led to rapid growth of nuclear medicine facilities in the country. As per recently released list (July 2018) of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, there are 293 nuclear medicine departments in the country. Of which 14&! #37; are in the government sector, and the remaining 86% are under private ownership. There are currently 233 functioning gamma cameras (Single-photon emission computed tomography [SPECT]/SPECT–computed tomography [CT]) units in India since 1969 when the first gamma camera was commissioned at RMC. The first medical cyclotron (2002) and first positron emission tomography (PET) (2002) and first PET-CT (2004) in Mumbai had triggered revolution of molecular imaging in India. There are 222 PET-CT, 3 PET-magnetic resonance imaging scanners, and 19 cyclotrons operating currently. India has witnessed relatively slower headways in terms of high dose radionuclide therapy facilities. After first indoor facility at RMC in 1964, only 92 radionuclide therapy (isolation) wards have come up with no more than 200 beds for the entire country in the last 54 years. India started Delhi university approved structured postgraduate diploma in nuclear medicine in 1963 at the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), first of its kind course in the world at that time. RMC started Mumbai University recognized diploma courses for physicians (Diploma in Radiation Medicine) and technologists (Diploma in Medical Radioisotope Techniques) in 1973. National Board of Examination (Government of India) recognized nuclear medicine as a broad specialty in 1982 and accredited RMC for training for Diplomate of National Board. Doctor of Medicine (MD) started first time in India and Asia at Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute, Lucknow in 1990. Doctorate of Therapeutic Nuclear Medicine commenced at All India Institute of Medical Sciences Delhi in 2015. There are 18 teaching hospitals currently imparting MD/DNB nuclear medicine residency for physicians with annual intake of 50. Eighteen institutions are offering bachelors and masters programs for nuclear medicine technology with an average annual intake of 110–120 students. Society of Nuclear Medicine, India (SNMI) is the oldest and largest professional body with total life membership of 1425 nuclear medicine professionals. SNMI was established in 1967 and hosted the first Annual Conference at RMC, Mumbai in 1968. Since then, SNMI is organizing its Annual Conferences in various parts of the country with the objective of scientific exchange and popularizing the modality amongst clinicians. Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education Research is hosting the 50th Annual Conference of SNMI (SNMICON-18) as mark of golden jubilee celebration.

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