Biological therapies for cancer include the usage of body’s immune system to curb cancer and to fight the side effects generated out of some other chemotherapeutic treatments. The human body has biological response modifiers (BRMs) that stimulate the body’s response towards an infection. Scientists are now involved in producing such biological response modifiers artificially in laboratories to use them in triggering an immune response against cancer. Some of the BRMs produced artificially in laboratories are listed below:
- Interferons: These are similar to cytokines and help in curbing cancer by slowing the growth of cancer cells or by modifying them into normal cells. There are three major types of interferons – interferon alpha (most widely utilized for cancer treatments), interferon gamma, and interferon beta. The U.S. FDA has already approved the use of interferons for treating Kaposi’s sarcoma, hairy cell leukemia, chronic myeloid leukemia, and melanoma
- Interleukins: These are also types of cytokines that help in the treatment of metastatic kidney cancer and metastatic melanoma
- Monoclonal antibodies: Scientists are currently evaluating the usage of monoclonal antibodies in cancer treatment
The global biological therapies for the cancer market generated revenues of USD 40.9 billion in 2011 and the market is expected to reach an estimated value of USD 55.3 billion in 2018, growing at a CAGR of 4.4% from 2012 to 2018.
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The fact that cancer is the one of the world’s leading causes of death and since its global prevalence rate is on the rise, will serve as a market growth driver. Some of the other growth drivers of this market are the effectiveness of biological therapies in reducing treatment induced side effects and the growing availability of healthcare facilities in emerging countries of Asia-Pacific, Eastern European, and the Latin American region.
The North American region held majority of the market share in 2011 owing to the presence of sophisticated medical infrastructure coupled with rising cancer incidence rates. The Asian region will grow at the fastest CAGR during the forecast period owing to the improvement in economies of countries such as India and China.
The market for biological therapies for cancer involves nascent technologies and holds a very lucrative future. Such a nature of the market attracts pharmaceutical giants like GSK, Novartis, Pfizer Inc., Roche and Amgen to invest in this sector and to utilize the untapped opportunities available in this market.