Proton beam therapy is seen as the next great leap forward in treating cancer with radiation. It has been found that proton therapy is beneficial for tumors surrounded by sensitive structures such as the eye, brain, and spinal cord, where the organs are sensitive and there is high potential for radiation damage. Proton therapy is also very useful in childhood cancer treatment due to the high risk of long-term side effects in children during standard radiation treatment. The major advantage is that there is minimal or no side effects compared to conventional forms of radiation which makes this therapy much more easily tolerated than standard radiation therapy.
Proton therapy is applied to a specific area of the patient\'s body which means that this therapy can be used to shrink tumors that have not spread to other parts of the body. Tumors adjoining sensitive and critically important tissues such as the optic nerves that travel between the eye and brain need protection from radiation damage and such cases are best treated with proton therapy. Doctors now use proton therapy exclusively or in conjunction with standard radiation therapy, surgery, and/or chemotherapy. In children that are infected with cancer, proton therapy is particularly useful for treatment because it reduces the chance of harming healthy, developing tissue. Proton therapy can also be used in children for rare cancers of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the eye, such as retinoblastoma and orbital rhabdomyosarcoma.
In US, there are about 14 proton therapy centers catering to a potential patient base of more than 350,000 cancer patients with respect to treatment with proton therapy. This number is expected to cross 24 by 2020. This number of centers, though not sizable, still points to a huge multi Billion dollar potential market for the companies, though there would still be a majority of cancer patients who can likely benefit with proton therapy, but who may have fallen off the map.
The market for proton therapy centers and the demand for these facilities are growing driven by the number of cancer diagnoses. Of this prostate cancer that has about 186,320 patient additions a year has seen a favorable impression of the therapy. There are also other positive aspects in this scenario such as that of the Loma Linda facility which has been using protons to treat men with prostate cancer since 1991 and found that major rectal and urinary side effects occur among less than 1% of its patients. The absence of such risks associated with other radiation treatments or surgery is a major driving factor driving the demand for proton therapy among patients.
In the US the way forward for proton therapy is expected to be in establishing a nationwide network of proton facilities, given that so many cancer patients lack access to the technology. In doing this the role of the corporate and private medical sector would be equal or more than the academic proton centers which their own issues to grapple with. Another area of development that will promote growth in this sector is that of proton beam technology itself which is rapidly advancing. We can expect to see American centers upgrading to intensity modulated proton beam therapy that will make it more accurate.
“US Proton Therapy Market Opportunity Analysis” Report Highlight: