About us

What is Nuclear Medicine?

Do you wonder what nuclear medicine is all about? Read the definition our EANM Board 2023 developed for you!

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Definition of 'Nuclear Medicine'

Nuclear Medicine is a multi-professional, independent, medical discipline based on the application of probes labelled with radionuclides (radiopharmaceuticals) to both diagnose and treat various diseases. Its scope encompasses molecular imaging, image-guided procedures, and targeted radionuclide therapy.

Using radiopharmaceuticals, Nuclear Medicine procedures target specific physio-pathological processes or features underlying a disease directly at the molecular level. Using advanced hybrid equipment (i.e., combination with radiological imaging, SPECT/CT and PET/CT, or PET/MRI) the functional data obtained from Nuclear Medicine is combined with information obtained by CT and MRI. This multimodal approach ensures a comprehensive diagnostic map, fostering precision medicine to diagnose, prognosticate, administer targeted therapy, guide treatment, and monitor its effects.

Theranostics is a specific branch of Nuclear Medicine which combines diagnostic imaging and targeted therapy by selecting the used radionuclide according to its radiation properties. The use of a diagnostic radiopharmaceutical enables the selection of patients for a subsequent treatment by targeting a specific molecular feature of the disease. The matched therapeutic agent, targeting the very same feature, is a radiopharmaceutical as well. Thus, such pairs of radiolabelled compounds, the radiotheranostics, are used to ‘see what we treat’ and ‘treat what we see’.

Recommended in clinical guidelines, several Nuclear Medicine procedures implementing state-of-the-art clinical standards are currently available to enhance patient care worldwide, for both diagnostic and therapeutic applications. The Nuclear Medicine discipline is defined by its commitment to quality improvement, technological innovation, stringent safety standards for radiation protection, and thorough health technology evaluations to safeguard both medical staff and patients.

Furthermore, Nuclear Medicine plays a pivotal role in biomedical research by facilitating the accelerated development of new drugs, especially in early-phase clinical trials. The application of total-body imaging, the reliance on AI-supported deep data analysis, and the implementation of true non-invasive network medicine are paving the way for the future of medical treatment standards.

As an umbrella organisation representing healthcare professionals working in Nuclear Medicine, the EANM is devoted to promoting a safe, sustainable, and accessible use of radiopharmaceuticals. The EANM is cooperating with major medical societies from other clinical fields to ensure a safe and equal access to healthcare for all patients across Europe. A special focus is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of Nuclear Medicine physicians, medical physicists, radiochemists, pharmacists, and technologists to ensure the discipline’s continued advancements and its benefits to patient care.

Would you like to learn more?

The EANM has been collaborating with its partners to effectively explain the fundamentals of nuclear medicine. Explore the following resources to learn more:

Sunny & Tim video series

The Sunny & Tim video series, created by Dutch Nuclear Physician Ronald van Rheenen, also known as the ‘Photo Doctor,’ has achieved countless success stories. Through his Visual Patient Education Materials, he provides basic medical knowledge in a clear and accessible way. By adding a sense of adventure, these materials resonate with children and significantly reduce the initial fear often associated with medical examinations.


NMEU's video animations

Nuclear Medicine Europe (NMEU) has developed a comprehensive website packed with resources, including informative content, animation videos, and educational materials to help you learn more about Nuclear Medicine.

Check now