Technological Advancements Have Improved The Quality of Radiation Therapy, By Enabling Lesser Postoperative Complications and Faster Recovery Time.
Radiation therapy is one of the essential factor of the comprehensive cancer treatment and management of most cancers worldwide. The therapy uses high dose of radiations to destroy or damage the cancer cells and stop them from spreading by either damaging DNA directly or by creating charged particles within the cells that can in turn damage the DNA. The radiation therapy by alone or in combination with other treatment modalities provides an excellent cure for local tumour and palliative treatment for relieving symptoms of cancer and also improves the overall survival and quality of life.
Radiation therapy can be treated by three different types based on the cancer type, their locations & stage of the cancer; external radiation therapy, internal radiation therapy and systemic radiation therapy. External radiation therapy is the most common type of radiation therapy which delivers radiation from a machine outside the body that directs high-energy rays into the tumour. Internal radiation therapy or brachytherapy, allows a higher dose of radiation in a smaller area than might be possible with external radiation therapy. In systemic radiation therapy, a radioactive drug or radiopharmaceutical is used to treat certain types of cancer systemically. These drugs can either be taken by mouth or injected through a vein which then travels throughout the body and attaches to the cancer cells to give off their radiation and eventually kill the cancer cells.
Even though radiation therapy treats many types of cancer effectively, like other treatments, it often causes side effects depending on the type of cancer, its location, and the radiation therapy dose. Side effects occur because radiation therapy can also damage healthy cells and tissues surrounding the tumour cells. Radiation therapy can cause both acute and chronic side effects. These effects include skin irritation or damage at regions exposed to the radiation beams and may also develop a secondary cancers. Hence, Preventing and treating side effects is an important factor of cancer treatment.
Over the years, radiation oncologists have developed various novel strategies to overcome the constraints and increase the effectiveness of radiation therapy. These include radiation sensitizers, radiation protectors, three-dimensional conformal external-beam irradiation, heavy-charged-particle irradiation, and various combinations of these techniques. Also, the use of a new form of internal radiotherapy, an electronic brachytherapy (EBT) is growing faster over the other therapies mainly due to its effectiveness, convenience, and non-surgical approach for patients with non-melanoma skin cancers.
At present, major advances in radiation technology have made it more precise, leading to fewer side effects. For example, a new technology, Genomic-adjusted radiation dose (GARD) can optimize radiation therapy dosage based patient’s tumour genomics. GARD technology, co-invented by Cleveland Clinic and Moffitt Cancer Centre, offers treatment teams a simple and reliable tool to match radiation dosage with a tumour’s molecular profile. Image guidance has been proven to be a useful tool to ensure the radiation dose which is being directed at the target location, improving both the precision and effectiveness of radiation treatments. However, most current techniques require that the patient be exposed to additional radiation in order to capture the images utilised through this treatment method. Replacing the X-ray images with images acquired through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows real-time visualisation of the treatment site without any added radiation dose to the patient. The development of compact advanced radiation therapy options such as CyberKnife, Gamma Knife, tomotherapy, etc have further complemented the growth of radiation therapy devices market.
As the technology has improved and the delivery of radiation has become more precise, radiation oncologists are now able to deliver higher doses of radiation more safely to the patients with minimal damage to the normal tissues and organs. These advanced technologies have improved the quality of radiation therapy, by enabling lesser postoperative complications and faster recovery time.
According to IQ4I analysis, the radiation therapy global market is valued at $5,789.4 million in 2017 and expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.0% to reach $8,680.6 million by 2024. The growing prevalence of cancer cases, adoption of unhealthy lifestyle, rising preference for non-invasive procedures for cancer treatment, rapid rise in geriatric population and technological advancements are some of the major factors driving the growth of the radiation therapy global market. Major gaps in access to cancer care persists, especially in low and middle income countries (LMICs) mainly due to the lack of sufficient infrastructure and inadequate skilled technicians , lack of awareness and understanding about the importance of radiation therapy which are further restraining the market. Adding to this, stringent regulatory requirements and inadequate reimbursements are some of the major threats to the growth of radiation therapy global market.
Some of the major companies operating in the radiation therapy market are Varian Medical Systems (U.S.), Elekta AB (Sweden), Accuray Inc. (U.S.), Bayer (Germany), Carl Zeiss AG (Germany), Philips healthcare (Netherlands), GE Healthcare (U.K.), Toshiba (Japan), Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Japan), Shinva (China), Neusoft (China), Top Grade Healthcare (China), Huiheng Medical (China), Hamming (China), and Accsys Technology inc. (U.S.).