01 Sep, 2023: The UK's state-run National Health Service (NHS) will become the global pioneer in providing a groundbreaking cancer treatment injection to hundreds of patients in England which has the potential to reduce treatment durations by as much as 75%.
After receiving the approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), NHS England announced in its press release that numerous qualified patients who have undergone immunotherapy with atezolizumab will soon receive a subcutaneous injection.
In an official press release of the NHS, Dr Alexander Martin, a consultant oncologist at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said, “This approval will not only allow us to deliver convenient and faster care for our patients, but will enable our teams to treat more patients throughout the day.”
Currently, patients are undergoing a process where they receive the life-extending immunotherapy drug atezolizumab (Tencentriq®) in a hospital setting through intravenous transfusions. The administration typically takes about 30 minutes, although for some individuals, it can extend to an hour due to difficulties in accessing veins.
However, a positive change is on the horizon. In the coming weeks, hundreds of eligible patients who are undergoing treatment with atezolizumab will be having an improved experience as they transition to a faster and more comfortable method of receiving the drug via subcutaneous injections. This transition will not only enhance patient comfort but also save valuable time for the dedicated NHS cancer teams.
Atezolizumab is a revolutionary immunotherapy drug that empowers a patient's own immune system to actively target and eliminate cancerous cells. This treatment is currently administered through transfusions to NHS patients suffering from various types of cancers, including lung, breast, liver, and bladder cancers.
It is expected that the majority of the roughly 3,600 patients in England who begin atezolizumab treatment each year will opt for the time-efficient injection method. However, in cases where patients are concurrently receiving intravenous chemotherapy alongside atezolizumab, they may continue to receive the drug through transfusions.
As the country pioneers this transformative method, it offers renewed hope to countless individuals facing the challenges of cancer. With the potential to improve the quality of life for patients and streamline healthcare services, this remarkable achievement demonstrates the power of innovation and collective determination in the fight against cancer, setting a promising precedent for the future of cancer care worldwide.