Health organisations aim to speed up adoption of nuclear medicine

Several Belgian health organisations and knowledge institutions have proposed an action plan to expand the use of nuclear medicine in cancer treatment, further establishing Belgium as a world leader.

Belgium specialises in radioligand therapy, an innovative nuclear medicine technique to fight advanced cancers. The therapy combines a molecule that recognises cancer cells - the ligand - with a radioisotope designed to damage or destroy the cancer cells and limit the impact on nearby healthy cells.

Radioligand therapy avoids many side effects and allows patients to enjoy a better quality of life for longer. It is already used to treat metastatic cancers such as neuroendocrine tumours and prostate cancer in Belgium.

The healthcare company Novartis, the Federal Office for Nuclear Control, the National Institute for Sickness and Disability Insurance, the Stichting tegen Kanker and several university hospitals have developed an action plan with 25 objectives to develop the therapy in Belgium.

Unique ecosystem

"The intention is to work with all stakeholders to enable as many types of radioligand therapies as possible in Belgium, by allowing reimbursement for the therapy and providing funding for hospitals to offer the therapy to as many patients as possible," says KU Leuven professor Christophe Deroose.

Belgium has long been a pioneer in nuclear medicine and radioligand therapy, the partners said at a press conference on Wednesday. It has a unique ecosystem of nuclear experts, research institutions, research reactors, pharmaceutical companies, production facilities, specialised doctors and hospitals. More than 5,000 professionals are involved in Belgian nuclear medicine.



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