Medical Cyclotrons Poised For Take-Off In Developing Countries

All in all, rising production of radioisotopes around the world with the help of medical cyclotron is expected to reduce the wait time by weeks. In other words, the patients can get to know about their diagnosis within a week from the day they get done with the diagnostic tests.

One of the most peaceful uses of nuclear science can be found in the fields of agriculture, industry, and healthcare. Nuclear medicine or radioactive substances are widely being used in the diagnosis, treatment, and research of a variety of diseases. Medical cyclotron, a particle accelerator and producer radionuclides is used for the treatment of various diseases. Nuclear medicine makes use of over 1200 cyclotrons in particle therapy, neutron irradiation, and other types of cancer treatments. According to the World Nuclear Association, nuclear medicine assists in more than 40 million procedures globally. Rapid rise in the cases of cancer makes the use of medical cyclotrons and other technologically advanced products and procedures. Nuclear medicine and medical cyclotron is anticipated to play crucial role in disease management across emerging regions. Fast-paced developmental reforms in countries like India are expected to present the medical cyclotron market with abundant development opportunities. However, the road to success for nuclear medicine in these regions is faced with numerous challenges.

Medical cyclotrons at present

Medical cyclotron technology has revolutionized nuclear medicine with clear analysis of the organs through molecular imaging. The radiation limit for medical imaging with medical cyclotron is determined on the basis of the level of shielding around cyclotrons. Institutions are required to follow a stern regulatory framework designed by various government. It is the primary requirement for the users to get regulatory clearance. These guidelines make sure that the facility is shielded, closely monitored, and is safe for patients. The medical cyclotron market is expected to witness R&D investments aplenty in near future. This is anticipated to create business opportunities for the key players working in the market. However, lack of resources is the primary challenge faced by the emerging or developing countries taking a plunge into medical cyclotron and nuclear medicine. Another major challenge is complex logistics and relatively short-lived radionuclides. The amount of production also depends on the capacity of installed beam energy.

High prevalence of cancer is the primary factor pushing the companies operating in the market to discover technologies and devices that can reduce the time required for diagnosis. Patients in some places, have to wait for weeks to get results of their cancer diagnostic tests. This has increased the R&D activities in the market for medical cyclotron, as early diagnosis holds the key to better chance at complete recovery. With the rising adoption and efforts to establish new medical cyclotron centers, the patients are likely to witness a remarkable reduction in this time frame. In a recent development, TRIUMF, the national particle accelerator center of Canada is establishing an Institute for Advanced Medical Isotopes (IAMI). The institute is anticipated to push demand of sophisticated infrastructure to handle as well as to develop radioactive products. The distinctive part about this facility is that it is going to take care of all the steps involved in the production of these products starting with the creation of raw materials to development and clinical trials of potential treatments and breakthrough therapies. The company holds the country’s maximum cyclotron and laboratory affiliations. With this, the company aims to make Vancouver the leader in the medical cyclotron market.

Grand View Research

Growth avenues for medical cyclotron in India

The companies operating in the medical cyclotron market are investing in R&D to gain advantage of the rising adoption of radioisotopes in emerging economies. Researchers suggest that every year, around 1 in every 50 patients is diagnosed while one-tenth of the total population from emerging markets is treated with nuclear medicine. As a result, regions like Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East and Africa are considered to be vital for the growth of this market in the years to come. India, for instance, is expected to emerge as one of the booming markets for medical cyclotrons. Growing adoption of PET-associated medical accelerators can present business opportunities in the country over the years to come. Rise in the cases of cancer and efforts toward cancer awareness drives  equally responsible for the increased number of nuclear scans in India. The government is encouraging the research and adoption of nuclear medicine and is keen on providing funding.

For instance, one of India’s first ever state government-owned sophisticated medical cyclotron treatment center is installed at the Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH). The facility produces radioactive isotopes called flurodeoxyglucose (FDG) and also houses the PET and CT scan systems. The center started functioning from October 2017. However, the lifespan of the radioisotopes is limited. Hence, the healthcare facilities need to make sure that the product has been injected into the patients within the stipulated time. The facility has received approval from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB). Another Indian state, Kerala, has received clearance from the AERB to develop the state’s first ever FDG production facility. This medical cyclotron facility can produce 18F-FDG isotopes that assist the PET-CT scanners to detect hidden cancer cells within an hour. Growing number of these facilities throughout the country can help reduce the cost of cancer diagnosis. With the use of airlifting, the treatment and diagnostics can also be provided to other parts of the country, within the prescribed shelf-life of the cyclotrons.

Global medical cyclotron market

The global medical cyclotron market is expected to register growth at a steady compound annual growth rate (CAGR). High prevalence of cancer and awareness regarding advantages of medical scans are expected to drive the market over the next 4–6 years to come. Outsourcing radioactive tracers and radiopharmaceuticals can be hard for developing as well as the developed regions, especially due to the time-sensitiveness of cyclotrons. As a result, most regions are focused on developing their individual production facilities. This is expected to drive the market in terms of growth avenues and investment opportunities in near future. Governments from emerging economies are investing in R&D of medical cyclotron, which is expected to provide the much required traction for this market on a global scale.

Being a global pandemic, cancer is one of the most common and life-threatening diseases which are driving the demand for fast and accurate disease diagnosis. Acceptance of nuclear scans, particle accelerators, and nuclear medicine in general is expected to push the demand of medical cyclotron in the forthcoming years. Demand for cost-effective and time-sensitive diagnosis is the primary demand driver for the developing regions. Adoption of PET cyclotrons and closing of nuclear plants can create growth opportunities for the global medical cyclotron market in near future. Presence of a well-defined safety framework designed by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and AERB makes sure that the staff and patient safety is maintained while being around the highly radioactive devices like cyclotrons. Developing countries from around the world are taking keen interest in making their healthcare infrastructure self-sufficient. This is evident from the rising training activities that are taking place for the workforce to become more familiar with a niche technology like medical cyclotron.

Owing to the oligopolistic nature of the market, the top companies like GE Healthcare, IBA, TeamBest, Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd., Advanced Cyclotron Systems, and Siemens Medical Solutions USA among others are investing in R&D and business partnerships.

All in all, rising production of radioisotopes around the world with the help of medical cyclotron is expected to reduce the wait time by weeks. In other words, the patients can get to know about their diagnosis within a week from the day they get done with the diagnostic tests. Efforts from the governments and organizations from developing countries to introduce this technology, are expected to reduce the mortality rate in the long run. This gives hope for the recovery and healthy physical and mental state of mind for the patients as well as their loved ones. Grand View Research

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