Nuclear medicine uses radiation to provide diagnostic information about the functioning of a person's specific organs, or to treat them. Diagnostic procedures using radioisotopes are now routine. Radiotherapy can be used to treat some medical conditions, especially cancer, using radiation to weaken or destroy particular targeted cells. The attributes of naturally decaying atoms, known as radioisotopes, give rise to several applications across many aspects of modern day life. There is widespread awareness of the use of radiation and radioisotopes in medicine, particularly for diagnosis (identification) and therapy (treatment) of various medical conditions.
The decay product of Mo-99, Tc-99m, is the workhorse isotope in nuclear medicine for diagnostic imaging. Tc-99m is used for the detection of disease and for the study of organ structure and function. Tc-99m is especially useful for nuclear medicine procedures because it can be chemically incorporated into small molecule ligands and proteins that concentrate in specific organs or tissues when injected into the body. Tc-99m is used in more than 40-million diagnostic procedures each year.
Many medical products today are sterilised by gamma rays from a Co-60 source, a technique which generally is much cheaper and more effective than steam heat sterilisation. The disposable syringe is an example of a product sterilised by gamma rays. Because it is a 'cold' process radiation can be used to sterilise a range of heat-sensitive items such as powders, ointments, and solutions, as well as biological preparations such as bone, nerve, and skin to be used in tissue grafts. Large-scale irradiation facilities for gamma sterilisation are installed in many countries. Smaller gamma irradiators, often utilising Cs-137, having a longer half-life, are used for treating blood for transfusions and for other medical applications. Sterilisation by radiation has several benefits. It is safer and cheaper because it can be done after the item is packaged. The sterile shelf-life of the item is then practically indefinite provided the seal is not broken. Apart from syringes, medical products sterilised by radiation include cotton wool, burn dressings, surgical gloves, heart valves, bandages, plastic, and rubber sheets and surgical instruments. Within the United States and other parts of the developed world, the trend has been to reduce the use of Co-60. And many U.S. hospitals have shifted to generating highly energetic beams with accelerator technology for such therapy. But much of the developing world still employs Co-60 mainly because of the capital costs associated with switching to alternative non-radioactive source technologies.
Global Medical Radioisotopes market is valued at USD 583.52 million in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 834.97 million by the end of 2027, growing at a CAGR of 4.28% between 2021 and 2027.
Americas is the largest consumer by regions. Europe is the second largest with 26% market share. Asia Pacific s the following consumption region with 24% consumption market share. While the U.S. produces a significant number of the isotopes used by researchers, industry and the medical community, the U.S. is dependent upon foreign sources for many. Historically the U.S. provided almost all of the isotopes that were required for domestic consumption or, in special cases, acquired them from long-time allies. But beginning in the 1990’s other governments began to view the isotope industry as a high tech growth industry, and subsidized the production and sale of isotopes, targeting U.S. companies. The result is that U.S. industry has been switching its buying from the U.S. and DOE to foreign sources of supply.
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