October 28, 2009 - The imaging industry, especially the new molecular technologies, will drive personalized medicine, in which therapy is designed for the individual patient, according to a report by the market research group Kalorama Information.
If images can reveal not just the heightened metabolic activity characteristic of tumors but the tumors' chemical signatures, physicians can devise individualized therapies, the report says. This would lead to more effective treatments at a lower cost, according to the findings of "Medical Imaging Markets: Contrast Agents," from the Kalorama report.
While medical imaging equipment markets have experienced a slump in sales due to the recession, this is not the case for contrast agents and radiopharmaceuticals. Kalorama expects yearly growth rates for contrast agents used with most modalities to range from 5 to 11 percent. Radiopharmaceuticals, which are radioactive pharmaceuticals used as tracers in the diagnosis and treatment of many illnesses in nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, will experience slightly stronger annual growth - in the range of 10 to 16 percent from $830 million in 2008.
Nuclear medicine, including SPECT and PET, will change how diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer's are treated. Using radiopharmaceuticals, after the illness is identified and treatment begins, doctors can evaluate its effectiveness by tracking the production or inhibition of amyloids, instead of waiting months to evaluate subjectively whether behavior has changed. If a drug does not have the desired effect, treatment can be adjusted.
"Because molecular imaging allows for functional as well as anatomical imaging, diseases can be diagnosed at a much earlier stage and individualized therapies applied," said Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information. "With nuclear medicine making gains as a powerful tool for identifying and targeting the root of disease, radiopharmaceutical contrast agents are sure to enjoy strong growth."
Both diagnostic and therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals are becoming increasingly important as the market shifts towards molecular imaging, which is expected to remain at the forefront of research given its unique ability to image molecular abnormalities that are the basis of disease and the processes that are in progress, prior to the structural changes produced by the processes.
For more information: www.kaloramainformation.com