July 2, 2022
The use of Gamma Knife surgery to treat otherwise incurable brain tumours has been a life-saver for many thousands of patients – and it has been around for longer than many imagine.
For example, over the border in the Czech Republic the technique of using gamma knife surgery has been going on for 30 years, Radio Prague International reports.
The first one used in the country was funded by a nationwide fundraising campaign, focused on the case of a 12-year-old boy called Misa, who had already suffered brain damage through one haemorrhage and was at risk of another without a gamma procedure.
The Gamma Knife used on Misa was subsequently modernised twice and then replaced with a more modern version in 2009, but the benefits of gamma knife radiosurgery have been felt by some 24,000 patients. Misa himself died in 2018, but this meant his life had been extended by nearly 30 years.
For a country with a poor economy that had only just left behind decades of Communism to have raised CZK 160 million Crowns via public subscription was a huge effort. The good news here in neighbouring Austria is that the same procedure is available in Vienna, with the prospect of saving thousands of lives and extending others.
According to one new report about the market for the procedure, central Europe will be one of the places where it is used most in the 2020s.
The study by Future Market Insights titled ’Gamma Knife Market: Global Industry Analysis and Opportunity Assessment 2015-2025’ predicted that between 2021 and 2031 Germany alone would account for a fifth of procedures in Europe.
It also said the worldwide market for the procedure would see compound annual growth of 5.9 per cent, with the global value of the market rising from US$287.3 million to US$507 million.
Ultimately, however, it is not all about money, whether it is the funds raised by the Czechs 30 years ago or the future value of the market. It is about saving the lives of people with brain tumours and other otherwise inoperable conditions and giving them many more years of life.