Department of Energy Funding

Background

For nearly 60 years, the Department of Energy (DOE) has funded essential, fundamental nuclear medicine research in the areas of biomedical imaging and radiotherapy that has facilitated technological breakthroughs.  Only the federal government funds basic nuclear medicine research, so this DOE program is critical for training and education.  Since the DOE has primary responsibility for isotope production, it would be beneficial to continue to fund nuclear medicine research.

DOE-funded nuclear medicine research has already resulted in numerous achievements in patient care and will lead to more.  It has contributed extensively to the development of:

  • Cutting-edge nuclear medicine imaging and therapy procedures, including positron emission tomography (PET), that are crucial for identifying the presence of cancer in the body and how the disease has progressed.
  • Cardiac stress tests to analyze heart function
  • Bone scans for orthopedic injuries
  • Lung scans for orthopedic injuries
  • Diagnoses of liver/gallbladder function abnormalities and neurological disorders
  • Radium-223


Prior to cutting funding in fiscal year (FY) 2006, nuclear medicine medical application research was funded at about $34 million.  Congress restored funding for nuclear medicine medical application research in (FY) 2008.  Funding levels for the following years were:

  • $17.5 million for FY08
  • $17.5 million for FY09
  • $17.5 million for FY10
  • $12 million for FY12
  • $5 million for FY13


Current Status

There has been discussion of moving funding for nuclear medicine research to the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) at the National Institutes of Health.  If funding is moved to NIBIB, it is imperative that funding be increased to at least $30 million.

SNMMI's Patient Advocacy Advisory Board (PAAB), along with staff, held a Capitol Hill Lobbying Day on October 8, 2013, where continued DOE funding was a main issue of concern.  SNMMI will continue to monitor this situation and will update our members as details become available.

On January 17, 2014, President Obama signed H.R.3547, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, also known as the $1 trillion omnibus spending bill, into law. This legislation includes funding for nuclear medicine research with human applications. The Energy and Water Development Appropriations Explanatory Statement includes $5 million to continue nuclear medicine research with human applications (pages 68-69), and is administered by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research at the Department of Energy.