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Targeted MRI would boost imaging market: report

by Heather Mayer, DOTmed News Reporter | October 26, 2010
Targeted MRI imaging, a developing technology that would reveal specific disease indicators in a patient at the molecular level, would significantly improve demand for imaging procedures, according to a new report from Kalorama Information.

The report, "Medical imaging markets: Contrast agents" found that if the kind of target agents currently used for SPECT training were available for MRI and ultrasound in a clinical setting, the global market for contrast agents would see a significant increase.

Targeted imaging adds special molecules to imaging agents that attach directly to specific molecular bodies. This method uses both the effectiveness of the contrast agent and the adhesion molecule to aim the agent directly at the desired target, according to the report.

"The technologies have the potential to make imaging definitive for a range of clinical applications such as the detection of tumors and heart disease," said Joe Constance, Kalorama analyst and author of the report, in prepared remarks.

While there are no targeted MRI contrast agents currently available for specific imaging of tumor and cardiovascular disease, there are many MRI applications under development, the report said. And, several targeted SPECT imaging agents are available for clinical applications.

High concentrations of the agent would be necessary for targeted MRI because of the imaging technique's low sensitivity, compared with nuclear imaging. But in some cases, targeted MRI may not need as much contrast agent. The amount required will depend on various factors, including water content, relaxation times and the diffusion characteristics of the targeted tissue.

Kalorama's report estimates that the 2010 market for all contrast agents will be more than $7.5 billion. It also reported that a targeting agent trend could dramatically increase revenue potential for companies in this market.