Radiotracers used in Positron Emission Tomography (PET) are chemical compounds comprising more than one atom replaced by a radioisotope. PET radiotracers are administered intravenously. Radiotracers are used for tracking the mechanism of chemical reaction taking part in a biological system, such as, glucose metabolism, amino acid uptake, glucocorticoid synthesis, and other metabolic studies. There are several types of radiotracers used in PET for metabolic studies for visualization using PET imaging.
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The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) plays an important role in assisting the transfer of radiotracer technology to developing member states. The organization helps member states in the development of human resources, education, and in maintaining good practices to ensure the sustainability of knowledge transfer and technology. The commonly used PET radiotracers for imaging are F 18 FDG, C-11 Methionine, F 18 fluoroethyl-l-tyrosine (FET), F 18 fluoro-dihydroxy-l-phenylalanine (F-DOPA), and C 11 Etomidate. The half-life period for a radiotracer varies from approximately 20 minutes to nearly 120 minutes.
According to the American Nuclear Society, more than 10,000 hospitals throughout the world use radioisotopes, and approximately 90% of these are used for the diagnosis of infectious diseases, cancer, neurological disorders, and other diagnostic applications, allowing for cerebral blood flow visualization, tumor protein synthesis, neuroendocrine imaging, myocardial perfusion, and other studies.
Key drivers of the PET radiotracer market are increasing incidence rate of cancer and neurological disorders across the world. According to the CBTRUS (Central Brain Tumor Registry of the U.S.), glioma accounts for approximately 27% of all forms of brain tumors and nearly 80% of malignant tumors. Other drivers of the PET radiotracer market are increasing research and development activities, rising government initiatives to promote health care facilities, technological advancements in nuclear imaging, and increasing product approvals.
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Major restraints of the global PET radiotracer market are the high cost associated with the production of radiotracers, shorter half-life period, and stringent regulations associated with radioactive materials. The half-life period for C-11 Methionine radiotracer is approximately 20 minutes due to which it is mostly used at facilities which are installed with cyclotron, thereby increasing the cost of its use.
In terms of geography, the global PET radiotracer market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America and Europe are anticipated to hold major market share of the global PET radiotracer market during the forecast period. Dominance of these regions in the market can be attributed due to increasing incidence rate of cancer and other neurological diseases, along with technological advancement in the field of radio pharmacy and increasing cyclotron base production of radio isotopes. For instance, on July 13, 2018, Ion Beam Applications S.A., a world-leading provider of solutions for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, installed the first IBA Cyclone KIUBE cyclotron in the Russian Federation at the Nuclear Diagnostics Unit of the Proton Therapy Center. Installation of the new cyclotron is anticipated to offer positron emission tomography (PET) to approximately 15,000 cancer patients annually.
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The PET radiotracer market in Asia Pacific is anticipated to expand at a significant CAGR during the forecast period due to rapid improvement in health care infrastructure in the region, increasing incidence of neurological disorders, growing pool of cancer patients, upsurge in research and development, and rising use of PET imaging. The PET radiotracer market in Latin America and Middle East & Africa is anticipated to grow significantly during the forecast period owing to the rise in demand and increase in awareness for early diagnosis of diseases in the regions.
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