Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare disease in which malignant cancer cells form in the skin. Merkel cell carcinoma is the second most common cause of skin cancer death after melanoma. Weak immune system and exposure to the sun induce the effects of merkel cell carcinoma. Merkel cell carcinoma usually appears as a single painless lump when exposed to sun. The disease starts in areas of skin exposed to the sun, especially the head and neck, as well as the arms, legs, and trunk. Merkel cell carcinoma grows quickly into a metastasize at an early stage by spreading to nearby lymph nodes or skin in distant parts of the body, lungs, brain, bones, or other organs. There are many tests and procedures that examine the skin to detect and diagnose carcinoma cells, but there are certain factors or effects of prognosis and treatment options which decrease the chance of recovery. However, new developments in skin biopsy approaches allow to image the diseases or infection at the cellular and molecular level, paving the way for early diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
High incidence and prevalence of skin cancer, rising awareness about merkel cell carcinoma, increasing research and development initiatives in immunotherapy, and advent of high-throughput screening (HTS) for drug discovery for skin cancer diseases are the key factors driving the global merkel cell carcinoma treatment market. In March 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the checkpoint blockade therapy drug Avelumab (brand Bavencio) for the treatment of adults and pediatric patients suffering from merkel cell carcinoma. In May 2017, researchers from the Fred Hutchison University and the University of Washington in Seattle reported the successful results of a small study combining avelumab with two other treatments. The combination therapy enhances T cells generation and attacks MCC cells. Such initiatives in research and development are projected to fuel the growth of the merkel cell carcinoma treatment market in the near future. However, factors such as side effects of the drugs and lengthy procedures are expected to hamper the market growth during the forecast period.
The global merkel cell carcinoma treatment market can be segmented based on test type, therapy type, end-user, and region. In terms of therapy type, the market can be divided into surgical excision, micrographic surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and others. Radiation is a rapidly growing segment due to high recommendation of radiation from physicians to treat lesion which destroys cancer cells that are not detectable through physical examination. Merkel cell carcinoma is particularly responsive to radiation, and therefore, demand for radiation is likely to rise in the near future across the world. In terms of test type, the merkel cell carcinoma treatment market can be classified into computerized axial tomography scan, positron emission tomography scan, biopsy test, immunohistochemistry test, and others. In terms of end-user, the market can be segregated into hospitals, cancer diagnostic labs & clinics, and others.
In terms of region, the global merkel cell carcinoma treatment market can be segmented into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. Geographically, North America dominates the global market due to increase in funding for the development of research and health care infrastructure in the region. Rising incidence of skin cancer diseases such as MCC and early phase diagnosis and treatment of diseases are driving the biotechnology & pharmaceutical segment in North America, which, in turn, is expected to boost the growth of the merkel cell carcinoma treatment market in the region in the next few years. Europe is the second leading market for merkel cell carcinoma treatment, as there are favorable government policies regarding the development of health care infrastructure, well-developed facilities for cancer patients, and growing number of gene therapy companies in the region. The merkel cell carcinoma treatment market in Asia Pacific is expected to grow rapidly during the forecast period due to rising environmental pollution, changing lifestyle of people, increasing awareness among patients about MCC treatment, and growing per capita expenditure for health insurance in the region. Moreover, economic growth in India and China is supporting health care infrastructure as well as expansion of pharmaceutical companies and biotech labs, which is likely to drive the merkel cell carcinoma treatment market in Asia Pacific in the near future.
Major players operating in the global merkel cell carcinoma treatment market include OncoSec Medical Incorporated, Biologics, Inc. (McKesson Corporation), Merck KGaA, Pfizer Inc., Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., NantKwest, Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Merck & Co., Inc., Amgen Inc., and Ono Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.
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