Radiopharmaceuticals are unique medicinal formulations that contain radioisotopes and are used in clinical applications for diagnosis and therapy. The facilities and procedures for production, use, and storage of radiopharmaceuticals are subject to license approval either by national or regional authorities such as Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) of U.S, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) of U.S., or Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) of India. Licensing includes compliance regarding pharmaceutical preparations and use of radioactive materials.
A radiopharmaceutical preparation is a medicinal product in a ready-to-use format containing a radionuclide suitable for human use. A kit for radiopharmaceutical preparation encloses a vial containing the non-radionuclide components of a radiopharmaceutical preparation in a sterilized and validated form, to which the appropriate radionuclide is added. Radiopharmaceuticals derived from the kits are intended to be used within 12 hours of preparation.
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Technetium-99m – Widely used Radioisotope in Diagnostic Procedures fueling growth of the radiopharmaceuticals market
There are over 40 radioisotopes available for use in different therapies. Technetium-99m is the most widely used radioisotope in the diagnostic procedures. Technetium-99m is used as a radioactive tracer, and can be detected in the body by medical equipment (gamma cameras). It is well suited to the role, as it emits readily detectable gamma rays with photon energy of 140 keV. According to International Atomic Energy Agency, over 80% of the total nuclear diagnostic procedures performed worldwide use Technetium-99 as a radiotracer each year and hence, propels the radiopharmaceuticals market growth.
Radiopharmaceuticals use in Diagnostic and Therapeutic Application fuels growth of the nuclear medicine market
The chemical and physical identity is of vital importance, as during administration it targets certain tissues, binding sites, and biochemical pathways. The market is divided into two major areas, namely, diagnostic and therapeutic. Therapeutic applications of radiopharmaceuticals market include cardiology (myocardial perfusion), oncology (tumor imaging and localization), and neurology (cerebral perfusion). Radiopharmaceuticals such as iodine-131 or iodine-125 labeled m-iodobenzyl guanidine (MIGB) are used to treat pheochromocytoma and neuroblastoma. The therapeutic segment nuclear medicine market can be further sub-segmented on the basis of procedure into beta emitters, alpha emitters, and brachytherapy.
The diagnostic segment of radiopharmaceuticals market is classified into SPECT and PET. Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) adoption has grown steadily over the last decade and is used in the study of cerebral blood flow imaging. Positron emission tomography (PET) is a functional imaging technique used to observe metabolic processes in the body. System detects pairs of gamma rays emitted by a positron emitting radionuclide. SPECT radioisotopes are used for diagnosis of diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and thyroid and neurological disorders.
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Radiopharmaceuticals – Used in Hospitals for Diagnosis
End users of radiopharmaceuticals include hospitals, research institutes, and diagnostic labs. These can be used in hospitals for diagnosis and detection of various diseases such as bone-related pathology, bone pain, stress fracture, bone infections, and spread of cancer in the bone. They are also used in detection and scanning such as in neurology and cardiology.
Application of Radiopharmaceuticals across the Globe
Radiopharmaceuticals are widely used in North America, mainly due to availability of advanced healthcare infrastructure, technological advancements, superior medical facilities, and supportive government support. These are also widely used in Europe due to new procedures for diagnosis of diseases and robust medical infrastructure in the region. Radiopharmaceuticals market is projected to witness rampant growth in Asia due to rapid rise in research work in the sector and rising public awareness.
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Key players involved in Nuclear Medicine market
The market is fragmented, with the presence of various major players such as Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Eli Lilly and Company, Lantheus Medical Imaging Inc., Ampio Pharmaceuticals Inc., GE Healthcare, Piramal Imaging, Covidien Plc., Cardinal Health, Iso Tex Diagnostics, Inc., Jubilant DraxImage Inc., Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc., Bracco Diagnostic Inc., Navidea Biopharmaceuticals, Nordion Inc., Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Mallinckrodt Plc., Bio-Nucleonics Inc., and IBA-Molecular.
Growth of the radiopharmaceuticals market is projected to witness rapid traction in the near future due to its high potential in diagnosis and detection of diseases related to cardiology, neurology, and oncology. Developed regions are expected to be highly lucrative markets for this technology, due to the high capital investment involved and availability of advanced medical facilities in these regions. Major players in the global Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanners market are concentrating on enhancing their global and regional presence through strategic operational expansion and collaborations with regional players.
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