Biomedical imaging professionals from around the country convened in Washington, D.C., in April for the 7th annual Medical Technology Showcase, organized by the Coalition for Imaging and Bioengineering Research (CIBR). Created by the Academy of Radiology Research in 2006, CIBR partners with patients, radiology departments, device makers, and imaging societies to educate the public and Congress about imaging research. The Academy also is among the organizations that successfully advocated for establishment in 2000 of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) at the National Institutes of Health.
On the day leading up to the Showcase, a group of attendees recognized as Early Career Investigators in Imaging met research program staff at the National Institutes of Health. The group of 16 learned about navigating the NIH research application process from Anthony Sastre, Ph.D., Director of NIBIB’s Magnetic, Biomagnetic and Bioelectronics Devices program. Academy of Radiology Research President Carolyn Meltzer, M.D., and CIBR Chair Steven Seltzer, M.D., accompanied the group during the NIH visit.
The early career investigators subsequently joined with CIBR members and patient advocates to meet Congressional members and staff on Capitol Hill. Midway through a full day of Congressional visits, Director Roderic I. Pettigrew, Ph.D., M.D., presented a talk to both recharge the group and highlight future directions in imaging and bioengineering. These included opportunities presented to NIBIB as part of the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative and the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative. He also highlighted six pioneering NIBIB-funded technologies that taxpayer dollars have made possible.
"CIBR organized an extraordinary set of activities for the Medical Technology 2016 event, and placed a spotlight on the vital contributions that biomedical imaging is making to human health," said Dr. Pettigrew. "I was delighted to speak with the invited group of aspiring and promising young biomedical imaging researchers and clinicians from across the country. It was also wonderful to meet with colleagues who return to Washington each year to promote the field and educate Congress about imaging research."
The Showcase portion of the event, at the impressive Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell State Office Building, featured 15 research posters and 12 exhibitor stations. Attendees had the opportunity at one station to play NIBIB’s “Want to Be a Bioengineer?” interactive game. The game is available on the NIBIB website and introduces the player to cutting-edge imaging and bioengineering technologies that might spark their interest in the field.
Highlights of the Showcase were four spokespeople from the patient community who shared insights from their personal experiences of when imaging technologies proved to be critical in their lives. U.S. Olympic gold medalist in soccer Cindy Parlow Cone saw her professional soccer career halted at age 24 by post-concussion syndrome. Biotech scientist Beth Calabotta courageously faces the challenge of metastatic breast cancer. Barbara Cole is learning to live and cope with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, and college student Blakely Murphy has had two surgeries to remove brain tumors. These powerful examples demonstrate the important role of biomedical imaging technologies, both for diagnosis and treatment of life-threatening conditions.
The patient statements sent home the message that the annual CIBR Medical Technology Showcase culminates on one day, but the work of patients, researchers and advocates for imaging and bioengineering research continues through the year.