Implantable seeds propelled U.S. brachytherapy market to $240M in 2008

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U.S. sales of brachytherapy products were $240 million in 2008 and should grow to $1.98 billion by 2016--implantable prostate seeds were the largest market segment, with sales of $121.5 million in 2008 comprising 51 percent of total brachytherapy sales, according to a report from market research firm Bio-Tech Systems.

However, the report noted that the "implantable seed proportion will diminish in the future as other brachytherapy market segments grow more rapidly. By 2016, prostate seed sales will comprise only 6.5 percent of total brachytherapy sales, and this market has been under pressure from competing modalities, such as intensity modulated radiation therapy and robotic microsurgery."

Other important brachytherapy market segments are partial breast irradiation with sales of $41.7 million in 2008, which Bio-Tech forecast to increase to $358.9 million by 2016.

Also, the firm said that sales of irradiated microspheres for liver cancer were $47.9 million in 2008, and should increase to $236.8 million by 2016. The market for "gynecological brachytherapy, which was just on the threshold in 2008, should grow to $32.5 million, which is a conservative estimate considering the incidence of cervical and uterine cancer and benefits of brachytherapy in this area," the report stated.

Bio-Tech said that the most rapid market growth will be in treating macular degeneration. The primary product in development has already been awarded CE approval in Europe and should receive FDA approval in the U.S. fairly soon, the firm said. There are over two million U.S. cases of macular degeneration with 220,000 newly diagnosed cases each year. Brachytherapy in this area "will generate rapid sales growth that should reach $1.17 billion by 2016, which will help all segments of brachytherapy, expanding the platform for new products," according to the author. One effect is that clinicians will have more options as alternatives to higher risk and more costly procedures, which will stimulate more research and investment, adding stability to newer venture companies.