Analysis of patent innovation in the field of brachytherapy

Mihailo Miljanic, Arpan V. Prabhu, Mausam Patel, Gary D. Lewis, Thomas Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: To characterize inventions and assess trends in brachytherapy innovation based on brachytherapy-related patents awarded across the past 2 decades and provide insights that will help inform future research and entrepreneurship in the field. Methods: The United States Patent and Trademark Office database was searched for patents awarded between 1999 and 2018 with a classification code corresponding to the broadest brachytherapy search category. Patent characteristics were stratified and compared by geographic location, affiliation, and theme of invention. Results: There were 202 brachytherapy-related patents awarded from 2009 to 2018, which indicates a 56% increase in patent productivity and brachytherapy innovation compared with the previous decade from 1999 to 2008. Patents had an industry affiliation in 83% of cases from 1999 to 2008 and in 76% of cases from 2009 to 2018. Meanwhile, academic participation in brachytherapy patent innovation rose from 4% to 11% in that time. The focus and theme of inventions evolved across time, with radiation sources being the most common theme from 1999 to 2008 and falling to third place in 2009–2018. Conversely, development of brachytherapy-related patents involving exogenous agents such as drug-conjugates, radiosensitizers, and adjuncts to treatment increased substantially in the subsequent decade. While no collaboration was observed between academia and industry between 1999 and 2008, notable partnerships emerged in the subsequent decade which amounted to almost 5% of all patents awarded between 2009 and 2018. Conclusions: There has been an increase in overall brachytherapy patent production over time, and this has been accompanied by a greater variety of distinct patent themes. Collaboration between industry and academia is rare. Knowledge of brachytherapy patents may inform future research innovation in this field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-517
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Brachytherapy
  • Delivery source
  • Exogenous agents
  • Innovation
  • Intellectual property
  • Patents
  • Treatment delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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