Technetium-99m is a medical radioisotope and used in gamma camera and SPECT for body imaging. SPECT is a highly sensitive technique to detect the parathyroid adenomas in the human body. It uses gamma camera for imaging purposes. Gamma camera is available separately for bone marrow and cardiac imaging, and is known as planar camera. Technetium-99m is widely used in hospitals and diagnostic centers and in some research institutes for diagnostic purposes. Rising number of cancer patients and cardiovascular ailments are expected to underpin the technetium-99m market. Technetium-99m is the preferred radioisotope for medical imaging due to its short half-life and appropriate energy emission for perfect image. It is generated by source named molybdenum, which is an abundantly present on earth. However, the process of producing its daughter isotope is a rigorous task it represents a high value in terms of availability.
Technetium-99m can be produced by molybdenum-99 and molybdenum-100 but the both sources are utilized by two different manufacturing process i.e. from nuclear reactor on a large scale and from cyclotron & accelerator on a small scale governed by any hospital facility. An injection of technetium-99m is combined with albumin and administered to the patient for scanning lungs, for brain scanning it is aggregated with hexamethylpropyleneamine oxime and for detecting the cancerous breast masses it is combined with methoxyisonitrile (MIBI). Technetium-99m market in MEA region is expected to expand at a significant CAGR over the forecast period representing high incremental opportunity.
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Some of the leading companies operating in the Middle East and Africa technetium-99m market are General Electric Company, Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd., Siemens Healthineers, Advanced Cyclotron Systems, Inc., and IBA. Transparency Market Research finds that most companies in this avenue are focused on presenting a diverse and technologically advanced product portfolio to maintain a strong foothold in the technetium-99m market. Establishing a strong distribution channel and making the most of their innovation capabilities also form a part of the players’ competitive strategy.
The opportunity in the Middle East and Africa technetium-99m market was pegged at US$273.3 mn in 2015 and is projected to be worth US$636.1 mn by 2026, expanding at a CAGR of 8.1% therein.
Gamma Cameras Hold Leading Share in MEA Technetium-99m Market
By isotopic application, gamma cameras held the leading share in the technetium-99m market in MEA, creating an incremental opportunity of US$164.7 mn over the course of the forecast period. The SPECT segment, on the other hand, is projected to register a 9.0% CAGR from 2016 to 2026, higher than any other application segment. While hospitals formed the leading end-user segment of the technetium-99m market, diagnostic centers are currently the most attractive segment in terms of CAGR. Geographically, Turkey formed the leading regional segment in 2015 and is projected to value US$151.1 mn by 2024, expanding at a 9.6% CAGR from 2016 to 2026.
Advancement in Imaging Technologies a Key Contributor
“The prevalence of non-communicable and chronic diseases, such as cancer and cardiac disorders, is much higher in the developing economies of MEA than communicable diseases and this is mainly attributed to the rise in life expectancy, changes in lifestyle, and the growing percentage of geriatrics,” the author of the study notes. These factors have resulted in the increased demand for diagnostic equipment and imaging procedures, thereby driving the demand for technetium-99m. In addition, the advancement in imaging technologies, such as SPECT/CT, are fueling the demand for technetium-99m in various radiopharmaceutical applications.
Reactor Outages Limiting Production of Mo-99 in MEA
TMR notes that the frequency of planned or unplanned reactor outages has been limiting the production of Mo-99, which restricts the growth of the technetium-99m market in MEA. Other factors acting as deterrents include the rising adoption of alternative imaging modalities and the shortage of technicians, radiologists, and medical professionals in the MEA.
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On the bright side, the rising adoption of dual modality imaging techniques and hybrid imaging is projected to drive the use of technetium-99m in the Middle East. “Diagnostic imaging procedures are likely to be revolutionized by the use of multimodality imaging techniques because of their applicability in the development of personalized treatment plans,” the lead analyst predicts. This will lead to the growing adoption of technetium-99m.
Several countries around the world have begun focusing on non-reactor-based production of Mo-99 without the use of highly enriched uranium and this method holds immense promise for the technetium-99m market in MEA.