Nuclear Applications in Human Health


From the IAEA Division of Human Health

Non-communicable diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disorders kill millions of people each year, affected each year is putting great pressure on countries to provide effective solutions, even though the resources to diagnose and treat these conditions may be scarce, or often, not available. Many people die of diseases that could have been treatable under better healthcare systems. To counter these health threats, the IAEA has established the programme in Human Health to enhance capabilities in Member States.

In the past two centuries, the field of medicine has seen unique advances. Alongside discoveries like the smallpox vaccine and antibiotics, the discovery of radiation and radionuclides for use in medicine has led to more diversified and effective prevention, diagnostic and treatment options for many health conditions. Diseases like cancer that were once considered unmanageable and fatal can now be diagnosed earlier and treated more effectively using nuclear techniques, thus giving patients a fighting chance and, for many, a significant chance for a cure.

The IAEA has worked for over 50 years to promote the use of nuclear techniques in medicine by working together with its Member States and other organizations in various projects. The Agencyʼs aim is to help build Member Statesʼ capacities in this field in order to support the establishment of high quality health care worldwide. Since the IAEA began its work in human health, the use of nuclear techniques in medicine has become one of the most widespread peaceful applications of atomic energy.

This package contains a selection of examples of project outcomes of the IAEA Division of Human Health (NAHU). The stories contained in this package give a snapshot of the various areas of support provided by the Sections of the NAHU Division and examples of projects that have helped enhance capabilities in Member States to address needs related to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of health problems through the application of nuclear techniques.

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DIrectory of RAdiotherapy Centres (DIRAC)

DIRAC is the world’s most comprehensive database on radiotherapy resources. It comprises current and historical global data on radiotherapy centres, teletherapy machines, brachytherapy units, treatment planning systems, computed tomography systems and simulators. DIRAC contains information on radiotherapy infrastructure in 141 countries.

Visit dirac.iaea.org

Dosimetry Audit Networks (DAN)

The Dosimetry Audit Networks (DAN) database provides information on dosimetry audits in radiotherapy and the status of audit activities in different countries and world regions. The purpose of creating the database was to benefit both, the auditing groups, which could compare their activities and exchange their experiences, and medical physics community which would have an overview of dosimetry audits available and information how to access them.

Visit dosimetry-audit-networks.iaea.org

NUclear Medicine DAtaBase (NUMDAB)

NUMDAB is an information resource on the status of nuclear medicine practice worldwide. The database contains data on individual nuclear medicine facilities and their manpower and equipment, as well as on the isotopes and radiopharmaceuticals they use.

Visit nucmedicine.iaea.org

IAEA Doubly Labelled Water Database (DLW)

The IAEA Doubly Labelled Water (DLW) Database comprises global data on energy expenditure measurements made using the stable isotope method of doubly-labelled water analysis. The database presently includes data from over 20 countries and includes over 6500 DLW measurements between 1981 and 2017. The database welcomes data submissions and proposals for analysis using the data.

Visit doubly-labelled-water-database.iaea.org


Human Health Campus

for health professionals

For more information, interesting learning materials and our latest updates visit the Human Health Campus: an educational and resources website for health professionals in Radiation Medicine and Nutrition. This website is a valuable tool used by the IAEA Division of Human Health to achieve its mission to enhance the capabilities in Member States to address needs related to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of health problems through the application of nuclear techniques.

Visit humanhealth.iaea.org