The stem cell market was valued at USD 14.7 billion in 2020, and it is expected to reach approximately USD 26.40 billion in 2026, registering a CAGR of nearly 10.24% during the forecast period, 2021-2026. The growth of the market is attributed to the rising number of clinical trials and the growing adoption of stem cell therapies globally. In the context of COVID-19, government organizations in various countries, research institutes, and many biotech and pharmaceutical firms are focusing on effective and rapid technologies for the fast diagnosis of COVID-19. According to a 2020 research article published in the scientific journal Aging and Disease (2020), mesenchymal stem cells are a safe and effective approach to the treatment of COVID-19. At least 10 projects have been registered in the official international registry for clinical trials, implicating the use of mesenchymal stem cells to patients with coronavirus pneumonia. However, it is still at an initial stage of study in relation to the market studied.
Stem cells are majorly used in regenerative medicine, especially in the field of dermatology. However, oncology is expected to grow at the highest rate due to a large number of pipeline products present for the treatment of tumors or cancers. With the increase in the number of regenerative medicine centers, the stem cell market is also expected to increase in the future.
One of the richest sources of stem cells is the umbilical cord, which possesses unique qualities and has greater advantages over embryonic stem cells or adult stem cells. There are an increasing number of stem cell banks, which collaborate with hospitals and increase awareness about the storage of cord blood units in families, particularly in the emerging markets. The support is increasing with the rising number of medical communities and government initiatives active in promoting the use of stem cells for the treatment of more than 100 diseases. Currently, there is an increase in the number of clinical trials for testing future treatment possibilities of cord blood. Over 200 National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded clinical trials with cord blood are currently being conducted in the United States alone.
Key Market Trends The Oncology Disorders Segment is Expected to Exhibit the Fastest Growth Rate Over the Forecast Period
The global cancer burden has been increasing, and thus, cancer therapies must be modified according to regional and national priorities. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, in 2018, there were an estimated 18 million cancer cases around the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is the second-leading cause of death across the world, with an estimated number of 9.6 million deaths in 2018, accounting for nearly one in six deaths.
Bone marrow transplant or stem cell transplant is a treatment for some types of cancer, like leukemia, multiple myeloma, neuroblastoma, or some types of lymphoma. For cancer treatments, both autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplants are done. Autologous transplants are preferred in the case of leukemias, lymphomas, multiple myeloma, testicular cancer, and neuroblastoma.
The major disadvantage associated with autologous stem cell transplants in cancer therapy is that cancer cells sometimes also get collected, along with stem cells, which may further put it back into the body during the therapy.
In case of allogeneic stem cell transplants, the donor can often be asked to donate more stem cells or even white blood cells, as per the requirement, and stem cells from healthy donors are free of cancer cells. However, the transplanted donor stem cells could die or be destroyed by the patient’s body before settling in the bone marrow.
Moreover, due to the growing focus of stem cell-based research and the rising demand for novel treatments, several companies, such as Stemline Therapeutics, have been focusing on developing technologies and treatments to attack cancer cells, which may help the market grow. However, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the detection and treatment of new cancer cases are impended, which may slightly impact the segment growth in the year.
North America Captured The Largest Market Share and is Expected to Retain its Dominance
North America dominated the overall stem cell market, with the United States contributing to the largest share in the market. The United States and Canada have developed and well-structured healthcare systems. These systems also encourage research and development. The increasing number of cancer cases is providing opportunities for market players. The major market players are focusing on R&D activities to introduce new stem cell therapies in the market.
For instance, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) had stated that the national expenditure on cancer care was expected to reach USD 156 billion by 2020. This factor is expected to boost the growth of the market in the future. In December 2019, the researchers at the National Eye Institute (NEI) launched a clinical trial to test the safety of a novel patient-specific stem cell-based therapy to treat geographic atrophy, the advanced dry form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss among people aged 65 years and above.
In addition, the current situation of COVID-19 is another factor driving the growth of the market in the country, as research activities are undergoing for the treatment of COVID-19. Stem cell therapy can also be a promising approach for the treatment of COVID-19 in the future. For instance, on May 6, 2020, Lineage Cell Therapeutics received a grant of USD 5 million from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to support the use of VAC, Lineage’s allogeneic dendritic cell therapy for the development of a potential vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Competitive Landscape The stem cell market is highly competitive and consists of several major players. In terms of market share, few of the major players currently dominate the market. The presence of major market players, such as Thermo Fisher Scientific (Qiagen NV), Sigma Aldrich (a subsidiary of Merck KGaA), Becton, Dickinson and Company, and Stem Cell Technologies, is in turn, increasing the overall competitive rivalry in the market. The product advancements and improvement in stem cell technology by the major players are also increasing the competitive rivalry.
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