Jan 16, 2008
OCT market set for rapid growth
The optical coherence tomography (OCT) market looks poised for continued growth, with revenues expected to top $800 million by 2012. That's the conclusion of a new market research report, Optical Coherence Tomography - Technology, Markets and Applications: 2008-2012. The report, published by US media company PennWell (Tulsa, OK), estimates that the global market for OCT systems currently stands at around $200 million and is growing at an annual rate of 34%.
OCT is a non-invasive optical imaging technique that's becoming an increasingly popular tool in the field of disease diagnostics. First commercialized for medical imaging in 1996, the technique offers the promise of fast, high-resolution diagnostic images for a variety of clinical applications.
According to the market report, OCT's first commercial application - ophthalmology - will continue to dominate through to 2012. However, new applications and products are emerging in areas such as cardiology, dentistry, cancer detection, glucose monitoring and dermatology. In particular, commercial activity for OCT in intravascular imaging has gained momentum over the past 12 months, and this sector looks set to become the next growth market for OCT technologies.
Much of this activity is driven by a shift from time-domain to Fourier-domain OCT technology. While similar in theory and design, Fourier-domain systems offer twice the resolution and 50-100 times the image-acquisition speed. In addition, because the Fourier-domain technique is not protected under the original patents (which limited competition with time-domain systems), there are now several companies developing or marketing Fourier-domain OCT products.
"In 2006, a number of companies introduced 'spectral domain' systems to the ophthalmic market," explained the report's author Greg Smolka. "These offer not only much faster image capture but, more importantly, much higher image accuracy. The new spectral-domain instruments generated a lot of buzz at the 2007 American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting and many see them becoming the dominant imaging system in ophthalmology."
There are at least 18 companies actively developing and/or manufacturing OCT systems. Those profiled in the report include Bioptigen, Carl Zeiss Meditec, Fox Hollow, GlucoLight, Heidelberg Engineering, OPKO, Optopol, Optovue, Topcon Medical Systems, Imalux, ISIS Optronics, Lantis Laser, Lightlab Imaging, Michelson Diagnostics, Santec, Thorlabs, Tomophase and Volcano/CardioSpectra.
In addition, as OCT continues to penetrate new markets, opportunities exist for photonics companies supplying optical sources, detectors and delivery systems. Source and components providers profiled include Cambridge Technology, Denselight, Exalos, Femtolasers, Goodrich, Inphenix, Micron Optics, Multiwave Photonics, NP Photonics, Optiphase and Superlum.
Optical Coherence Tomography - Technology, Markets and Applications: 2008-2012 is available to purchase next month, in print ($4500) and electronic ($4995) form. For more information, see www.bioopticsworld.com.
• Michelson Diagnostics of the UK has this week announced successful results from initial clinical testing of its OCT imaging technology on oral cancer tissue. Scientists at University College Hospital (UCH) in London used Michelson's OCT system to scan 25 cancerous and suspected-cancerous human oral tissue samples. They then compared the OCT images with corresponding histopathology images analysed by trained pathologists.
The results showed that OCT can identify surface structures, such as keratin and epithelial layers, the epidermal/dermal junction and areas of cellular crowding, as well as any pathological changes that occurs at that level. "We are very excited about the breakthrough in image quality that this system offers," said Colin Hopper, senior maxillofacial surgeon at UCH. "OCT could revolutionize the surveillance of pre-cancers in the mouth and eliminate the waiting time for biopsy results."