Bette Blankenship, M.S., Chair of the Government and Regulatory Affairs Committee (GRAC), presented on January 15, 2019, at a Capitol Hill briefing entitled, "Radiation for Life and Health: How Radioactive Sources Benefit Daily Life and the Economy." The briefing, organized by the Source Security Working Group, provided the audience of Hill staffers and government relations professionals insight on how radiological sources are used for medical and industrial purposes, and how they are licensed and regulated to protect the public health and safety. Two expert panels—one made up of medical and industrial users and another made up of federal and state regulators—engaged in a lively discussion addressing current uses of radioisotopes and emerging innovative uses.
Bette described the work of medical physicists in the treatment and imaging of patients. She focused her presentation on innovative targeted therapies—radionuclide therapies based on administering disease-specific radioactive substances that target cells of malignant tumors, while reducing potential side effects. Bette noted that current targeted therapies include Y90 Zevalin, Ra-223, and Lu-177, with additional nuclides in the approval process. She told the audience that these therapies offer renewed hope in cancer treatment where there may be no other current treatment options. Moreover, Bette conveyed excitement over new and developing nuclide imaging and therapy protocols, stressing the need for maintaining access to medical isotopes and supporting additional research.
Thomas Eichler, M.D., President-Elect of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, joined Bette on the medical panel and talked about high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy and Gamma Knife therapies.
If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Richard J. Martin, J.D., AAPM's Government Relations Program Manager.
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