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अखिल भारतीय आयुर्विज्ञान संस्थान, नई दिल्ली
All India Institute Of Medical Sciences, New Delhi

Introduction

Nuclear Medicine is a branch of medical science where radionuclides are used for diagnosis and treatment of human diseases. Discovery of artificial radioactivity and development of nuclear reactors and particle accelerators have played a significant role in radiotracer technology. Organ/tissue specific compounds, known as radiopharmaceuticals, are administered to the patient for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Nuclear medicine imaging and non-imaging procedures provide important information about functional status of the body organs. Radiotracer technology made it possible to define disease in terms of physiology and biochemistry rather than anatomy or histopathology. Ultrasonography, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) continue to define disease on the basis of abnormal structure. Single photon emission tomography (SPECT) permits 3D reconstruction of data, increasing the sensitivity and anatomical localization of lesions in the skeleton, brain and heart. The sensitivity of localization of tumors is also increased. We have 3 SPECT/CT Scanners and 3 dedicated Gamma Cameras in  the department at our Institute.In nuclear medicine the emphasis is on function and chemistry rather than structure. Radioactive tracers of glucose, fatty acids, amino acids make it possible to examine the growth and development of the organs of the body, the regeneration and repair when injured, and the response to drugs. Advances in molecular biology have made a dramatic impact on the practice of medicine. This has led to the birth of “Molecular Nuclear Medicine”. Studies with receptor based radiopharmaceuticals provide insight into the biochemical processes of proteins as they carry out instructions from genetic coding. These studies are possible with the help of positron emission tomography (PET) . Two PET/CT systems with 11 MeV Cyclotron has already been commissioned in the department.

Radionuclides are also used for therapy of malignant and non-malignant conditions. A lot of progress has taken place over the past few years in therapeutic nuclear medicine. With the use of suitable radiopharmaceuticals targeted therapy is also possible.

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