February 17, 2009 - Cancer may well surpass cardiovascular diseases as the primary case of death in Europe by 2012; to prevent this from happening, cancer therapeutics have to shift in focus from the treatment of symptoms to offering a total cure, despite the complex, multifactorial nature of cancer indications, according to Frost & Sullivan.

"As cancer spreads rapidly through Europe, therapy developers are looking to improve the cancer treatment profile through technological advances in diagnosis and treatment," says an analyst from Frost & Sullivan. "Innovative approaches to cancer therapy will help address unmet medical needs as well as enable the prognosis of cancer indications."

Several cancer indications such as non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are associated with very high mortality rates. This shows that intense technological improvements are needed to enhance the prognosis and treatment of major cancer indications.

Treatment developers should aim to keep pace with the growing demand for therapies that can improve patients' quality of life.

"Treatments with fewer side effects and that can reduce hospital stays are preferred over radical procedures such as surgery, wherever feasible," the analyst said. "An increasing demand for minimally invasive or noninvasive alternatives to existing treatments such as chemotherapy and surgery is driving the growth of radiation therapy -- particularly in developed countries."

The trend toward multimodality deals, along with digitization and price erosion are expected to drive consolidation in the cancer therapy market. The healthcare market in Europe is cost constrained and the purse strings are likely to tighten further with governments planning to implement several cost-containment measures.

"Budgets for hospitals are being reduced, leading to an increase in tendering arrangements between hospitals and companies, to reduce prices," observes the analyst. "This could result in the reluctance of physicians to use adjuvant therapy or prescribe more expensive therapies, which do not offer significant survival benefits."

While these policies compel companies to keep their prices low, extensive publicity about cancer mortality rates has ensured that there is adequate focus on cancer research. Many public research organizations and associations have been contributing substantially towards cancer treatment research programmes, keeping the market buoyant.

For more information: www.frost.com

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