New Medical Imaging Reagents Shed Light on Degenerative Diseases

In a recent study published in September in Neuron, a neuroscience journal, the research team used a class of fluorescent chemical compounds called PPBs that highlight Tau proteins which plaque the brain and are thought to trigger Alzheimer’s disease.

In their findings, the research team reported that “These compounds may accordingly be useful for the differential diagnosis of neurological conditions in elderly subjects on the basis of the distribution of tau lesions, thereby opening up novel avenues for research in elucidating mechanisms of tau-mediated neurodegeneration, as well as tau-focused biomarkers and therapies.”

These new fluorescent imaging agents will enable the efficient in vivo imaging of biological processes. In addition, developments in biochips, DNA sequencing and polymerase chain reaction rely on sensitive biologic fluorescent imaging reagents, and are expected to drive the Global Medical Imaging Reagents market at a CAGR of 7.95 percent for the 2012-2016 period.

This discovery couldn’t have come at a better time as the aging population globally is on the rise, and will only continue to get higher as the last of the Baby Boomer generation retires. According to the UN, the aging population (above 60 years) accounted for 22 percent of the total population in developed countries, compared to the worldwide average of 11 percent (760 million) in 2011.

The increase in pre-clinical research studies is resulting in the development of new imaging reagents. Leading medical imaging reagent vendors are focusing on the development of novel contrast agents for mammography, PET, SPECT, and MRI procedures that can help in effective diagnosis of Alzheimer’s as well as other diseases like breast cancer, prostate cancer, and bone metastasis.

With aging, many physiological changes occur in the body, which increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, neurological disorders, gastrointestinal diseases and oncologic disorders. This in turn increases the demand for diagnostic screening of patients for effective treatment of various disorders. Diagnostic imaging procedures make use of imaging reagents to allow the targeted organs and tissues to be visualized during medical investigations.

Over the past decade there has been a dramatic rise in the demand for diagnostic imaging procedures such as X-ray, CT, MRI, PET, SPECT, and ultrasound technologies which utilize various contrast imaging reagents and radiopharmaceuticals for effective targeting and clear visualization of the positions of diseased organs or tissue or bone.

As a result of the rise in the incidences of cardiovascular, oncological, and neurological disorders among the population, there has been an increase in the volume of PET, SPECT, SPECT-CT, PET-MRI, and SPECT-MRI procedures for imaging and diagnosis over recent years. Imaging using radiopharmaceuticals has also become indispensable owing to their ability to diagnose various disease processes much earlier than other diagnostic tests. For instance, it is expected that an increasing number of oncology and cardiology procedures will drive the demand for radiopharmaceuticals such as fluorodeoxyglucose used for PET scans. Thus, the increasing demand for radiopharmaceuticals is expected to fuel the growth in this market for the years to come.

For more information, view our 2012-2016 Global Medical Imaging Reagents Market report.