England: Britain’s state-run National Health Service will be the pioneering institution globally to introduce a groundbreaking injection for cancer treatment to hundreds of patients in England. This remarkable medical advancement has the potential to significantly reduce treatment durations by up to three quarters, marking an unprecedented improvement in patient care.
Following the approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), NHS England announced on Tuesday that numerous eligible patients who have received the immunotherapy, atezolizumab, are now scheduled to undergo an “under the skin” injection. This innovative approach will significantly contribute to freeing up valuable time for cancer treatment teams.
As stated by Dr. Alexander Martin, a consultant oncologist at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, this approval not only grants us the ability to provide convenient and efficient care to our patients but also empowers our teams to attend to a larger number of patients throughout the day.
NHS England stated that atezolizumab, also known as Tecentriq, is typically administered intravenously via a drip, directly into the patient’s veins. This process can often take approximately 30 minutes and, for some patients, up to an hour when locating a suitable vein proves to be challenging.
Marius Scholtz, Medical Director at Roche Products Limited, stated that the time required for the new method is approximately seven minutes, in contrast to the current intravenous infusion method which takes 30 to 60 minutes.
Atezolizumab, manufactured by Genentech, a Roche subsidiary, is an advanced immunotherapy medication that enhances a patient’s own immune system to actively target and eliminate cancer cells. This revolutionary treatment is currently available to NHS patients diagnosed with various forms of cancer, including lung, breast, liver, and bladder malignancies.
NHS England has stated that the majority of approximately 3,600 patients who begin atezolizumab treatment in England each year are expected to transition to the more time-efficient injection method. However, it has also mentioned that patients who are receiving intravenous chemotherapy alongside atezolizumab may continue to receive transfusions.