Nuclear medicine falls under the field of Molecular imaging, which involves usage of very small amount of radioactive material (radiopharmaceuticals) to diagnose and treat disease. In nuclear medicine imaging, the radioisotopes are detected by the special type of cameras attached to the computer which in turn provides very precise pictures of the area of the body examined.
The evolution and growth of nuclear medicine during the past decade has been impressive. In 2010 alone, approximately 19 million radionuclide patient examinations (including PET) were performed.
There has been a tremendous growth seen in the imaging sector for cardiac and Cancer diseases. Molecular imaging technology is thus growing without boundaries. What, then is the likelihood of nuclear medicine in terms of growth, and in terms of particular PET/ SPECT? Because 90% of the PET and SPECT studies are performed on Cancer patients and based on the statistics and projections predicted, a growing pool of cancer patients is expected in the near future. So, we do see a growing future for nuclear medicine.
And a greater portion of cancer patients will be there till 2020, with an increase of 68% vs 60% in 2008. Actual use of nuclear medicine had increased between 1998 and 2005 but actually declined by 0.2% between 2005 and 2008. Increase in PET/ SPECT imaging had a little effect on the trend of the market.
PET can also reveal tumor survival strategies for example when cancer cells switch from glucose to glutamine as a dominate energy substrate. The number of PET/ CT systems increased in the United States by more than 10 fold from 200 to 2000.
Treatment target identification with molecular imaging techniques offers new opportunities and market growth for the nuclear medicine.
The global nuclear medicine market was valued at $11,058 million in 2015 and is estimated to reach $19,770 million by the end of 2020. The CAGR during this period of forecast is 12.29%. Increasing use of SPECT and PET scans, technical advancements in equipment and rising awareness of radiopharmaceuticals among physicians and the ready availability of the nuclear medicine market have driven the market quite high. High cost of devices using radioisotopes, short half-life, lack of good manufacturing practices and stringent regulatory approvals are major hurdles to the growth of the market.
From a geographical point of view North America, specifically USA has the major market share as high as 40% of the global market share. This can be attributed to the technological advancements and the growing incidence of cancer rates and chronic disease population globally. Following North America is Europe which has the highest market share in the global diagnostics market. Recent developments and studies have shown that emerging markets such as India, China and Korea have shown great potential in terms of growth of the market. Their respective CAGR’s is expected to increase and show a greater growth than European market.