The proton therapy market of Korea has been accelerated since the construction of Pohang Light source in early 1990’s, boosting the industrial expertise and experience significant for the development of the medical accelerators. Through the collaboration of national research institutes, two proton therapy systems were imported by NCC in 2005 and by SMC in 2013. These systems are based on cyclotrons and are under patient treatment in Korea; defined as National Cancer Center (NCC) Proton Therapy Center in Ilsan, Korea, and Proton Therapy System in Samsung Medical Center (SMC-PTS) in Seoul, Korea. Since 2010, a heavy ion medical accelerator development project has been started to construct a 430 MeV/u synchrotron for cancer treatment with mainly carbon beams in Gijang county of Busan metropolitan city, however the first formal medical accelerator company was established in the year 2015. Furthermore, the future has been promised with much more effective medical accelerator companies thereafter.
Singularly, the Proton therapy market is going through an interesting period right now supported with its unprecedented demand for the treatment of cancer, has given the market wheels, to run at a rapid pace. Ken research, in its just published article mentioned that the untapped proton therapy market for South Korea was more than 1 Billion USD in the year of 2016. Being a particle therapy utilizing the ionization technique to inhibit cell proliferation, used to treat cancer patients and other tumors, it provides the main advantage of causing minimal damage to the surrounding healthy tissue cells while destroying the target malignant cells. Protons move slowly through the body and interact with electrons and discharge their energy. Specifically, South Korea Proton Therapy Market is expected to almost triple by 2021 from its current market size in 2016, says ken Research.
According to the report “Korea Proton Therapy Market, Reimbursement Policy, Patients Treated at Proton Therapy Centers & Forecast”, proton therapy plays an important role in delivering comprehensive cancer care to children and adults at the National Cancer Center of Korea (KNCC, IIsan). Still, industry experts (overlooking a huge multi Billion dollar potential market) believe that players will miss out on a majority of cancer patients who can benefit with proton therapy. Although the potential candidates for proton therapy treatment are in millions, but only a few are treated due to the limited access available, demand and supply gap. Consequently, the aid from technological up-gradation in Proton Therapy that has more utilization rate will shorten the length of time per patient further boosting the market, says ken research. Proton therapy market of South Korea has been dominated by KNCC, IIsan, however other players like Varian, Mevion, Hitachi etc. have also started to make their presence felt in the market.
The other factors responsible for the effective growth of the proton therapy market of Korea can be the increasing technological advancements, increasing disposable income of the consumers and the growing health awareness among masses of varied age-groups coupled with the extended spending of the consumer base. However, the market has faced and is still facing the challenges of huge investment requirement, technical operational challenges coupled with the short term effects of fatigue, redness and hair loss, caused due to the treatment which are temporary and often disappear after the treatment has finished. Additionally, the long term effects include hearing loss, cognitive impairment and changes in hormone levels, particularly growth hormones. Despite these challenges, the increased demand for proton therapy has motivated many prominent cancer centers around the world to provide proton therapy treatment, therefore, resulting in more clinical research, better clinician understanding and greater patient awareness of its benefits-which will help drive the further growth. The leading key companies facilitating the revenue as well as the growth of the proton therapy market in Korea includes IBA, Varian Medical Systems and Elekta. These players contribute significantly to the growth and development of the market with the aid of technology and planned investments.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications