Though therapies are in their nascent phase, sales of stem cell technologies are expected to show an annual increase of 16.2% over the 2010-2020 period, reaching an expected market value of nearly $1 billion, according to Kalorama Information's report, Stem Cell Therapeutics Markets. This includes revenues from proprietary stem cell therapeutics that have gained or are expected to gain approval from respected regulatory authorities.
"As drug developers tackle ever more complicated conditions, stem cell therapies hold the promise of addressing a large number of diseases," said Melissa Elder, the author of the report. "It must be noted, however, that in most cases this research is in a very early stage and is hindered by an incomplete understanding of each condition and the role stem cells play in treatment."
The healthcare market researcher's report notes that there are more than 4,000 research projects underway for stem cell therapies throughout the world. About a dozen companies are currently evaluating stem cell therapies in late stage clinical trials, among them Aastrom Biosciences, Advanced Cell Technology, Athersys, Cytori Therapeutics, GlaxoSmithKline, and Neuralstem, Inc.
Stem cells have advanced beyond the research lab to become effective tools in the treatment of some blood diseases, circulatory diseases, digestive disorders, musculoskeletal diseases, neoplasms and skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders. The most commonly used and/or approved stem cell therapies are largely confined to selected oncological conditions such as leukemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, although certain non-cancerous diseases like aplastic anemia, immunodeficiency and lupus are increasingly addressed with stem cells. Additionally, the use of stem cells in wound and dental applications is finding greater acceptance.