Updated on 23 December 2014
By 2020, analysts estimate that the global market for nuclear medicine will grow to a whopping $8.5 bn
Singapore: Right from its introduction one and half years ago, nuclear medicine has been increasingly across the globe. Generally used in tandem with advanced scanning techniques like the Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan at many hospitals here, nuclear medicine relies on the use of radioactive elements in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
Nuclear medicine uses radiation to provide diagnostic information about the functioning of a person's specific organs, or to treat them. This branch of medicine finds high application in diagnostic procedures. Raffles Hospital in Singapore aims to use new types of nuclear medicine to diagnose diseases like heart diseases.
There are currently 10 types of nuclear medicine worldwide with 50 new types under development. By 2020, analysts estimate that the global market for nuclear medicine will grow to a whopping $8.5 bn.
Doctors at the Raffles hospital have seen a 40 per cent increase in the number of patients who are treated using nuclear medicine and they say that using nuclear medicine is 80 per cent more accurate than traditional biopsies.
Dr Andrew Tan, a specialist on nuclear medicine at Raffles Hospital, "We are able to delve into the molecular nature so that means we are able to pick up as small as 0.4, 0.5 cm in detecting cancer at an earlier stage as compared to other type of imaging scans."
The industry also faces challenges like high costs, regulatory hurdles, reduced reimbursement costs and short half-lives of isotopes.