Medical imaging is used to define the use of conventional and sophisticated diagnostic practices. Traditional imaging techniques like computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, X-ray, and nuclear medicine (NM) usually analyze morphology and anatomy but are unable to detect changes at the molecular level. However, new developments in biotechnology allow imaging at the molecular and cellular level, making way for early diagnosis and treatment of disease. Medical imaging reagents play a very crucial role in this medical revolution.
Technological advances used in medical imaging reagents is moving forward at a rapid pace. These technologies include biologic targeting, microfluidics, nanotechnology, protein engineering and supramolecular chemistry. Rapid development across a number of technology fields promise to change the medical imaging industry by enabling novel imaging reagents and unique market opportunities. The high market growth rate for medical imaging reagents results in the adoption of personalized medicine, which demands a molecular approach toward the early diagnosis and monitoring of drugs. At the same time, the impact of enormous advances in proteomics and genomics are generating biomarkers of diseases. This rich source of biologic targets can be exploited by medical imaging reagents for detection of early plaques formed in Alzheimer’s disease or early detection of cancer cells.
In-vivo optical imaging reagents are key technologies for the drug development industry, as they allow for imaging of drug distribution and pharmacokinetics in mammalian animals. Such studies are critical in assisting pharmaceutical companies to eliminate poor drug candidates prior to expensive clinical trials.
Optical imaging reagents are an enabling technology in proteomics, genomics, in-vitro diagnostics industries and cellular analysis. Fluorescent dyes, probes, and proteins are essential components of the assays and techniques that are the basis for these fields of research, including DNA sequencing, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), immunoassays and cell-based fluorescence analysis. Growth in these markets will continue to drive demand for in-vitro imaging reagents. The medical imaging reagents industry is composed of a core group of companies that are leaders in life sciences R&D tools and medical imaging instrumentation. A major competitive strategy for achieving success in medical imaging reagents businesses has been acquiring unique technology in fluorescent proteins, fluorescence dyes, and probes, quantum dots, or nanotechnology. Biotechnology or nanotechnology companies are central to the development of these technologies and, thus, serve as innovative forces.
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Geographically, the market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa. North America dominates the medical imaging reagents market due to a rapid adoption of several types of modalities by end users, technological advancements, the prevalence of chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and others. The North America market is followed by Europe and Asia-Pacific. Europe is the second largest market for medical imaging reagents due to growing health awareness among people and increasing number of research and development activities. Asia-Pacific is expected to grow at a faster pace due to rise in population, an increase in opportunity for clinical and preclinical studies at low costs, and government support for research and development activities in the medical imaging reagents market.
Some of the major market players include Bayer Healthcare AG, Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc., GE Healthcare, Bracco Imaging SpA, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc. Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, and Siemens Healthcare. A key to maintaining a competitive advantage in the future medical imaging reagents market will be to continue an aggressive strategy of acquiring novel technologies that enhance the functionality and biocompatibility of present imaging reagents.
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