Breast Cancer

Thousands to benefit as NHS fast-track 100th cancer drug

Thousands of breast cancer patients are set to benefit from a life-extending drug that has been fast-tracked onto the frontline of NHS patient care.

The drug, called alpelisib, will be used in conjunction with the hormone therapy fulvestrant, targeting the gene that causes fast-growing tumours.

The drug works by blocking the rogue gene’s ability to help cancer cells survive – a key study showed that in half of the people who received this specific drug combination after initial treatment, their cancer did not grow for six months.

Up to 3,000 people every single year with a specific type of advanced breast cancer will benefit from the new treatment; alpelisib is the 100th cancer drug fast-tracked to NHS patients under the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), with 80,000 people better off as a result of a CDF drug in just over five years.

John Stewart, NHS National Director for Specialised Commissioning, said: “In just over five years, more than 80,000 people have benefitted from earlier access to a range of cancer drugs, with people in England having access to nearly one third more cancer drugs compared to the European average, and this latest innovative new treatment will help up to 3,000 more to live a better quality of life.

“This life-extending breast cancer treatment is the 100th to be rapidly made available to NHS patients thanks to the Cancer Drugs Fund, and will help people with secondary breast cancer to live longer.”

Before prescribing this treatment however, clinicians will also take a small amount of tissue from the patient’s tumour and send it to the NHS Genomic Laboratory Hub, where a genomic test will be carried out with the hope of identifying the tumour and then allocating a treatment plan, if possible.

If this new test reveals a mutation in a gene called PIK3CA then further targeted treatment can be offered to those not responding to other medicines. A blood test is also on hand to identify the specific mutation causing the cancer.

Professor Dame Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer for England and the Senior Responsible Officer for NHS Genomics said: “This is another powerful example of how genomic testing is supporting access to precision medicine for individuals living with cancer and allowing them to access more effective treatments on the NHS.

“Genomics is helping to revolutionise cancer care and the NHS Genomic Medicine Service is leading the way in delivering the latest genomic technologies to deliver better outcomes for patients.”

This is just the latest cancer innovation the NHS are delivering to their patients, with the life-extending drug durvalumab, practice-changing radiotherapy techniques, and revolutionary new trials all coming before it.

More information about the new drug is available here.

NHE Nov/Dec 2023

NHE Nov/Dec 2023

AI is key in helping dementia patients live independently for longer.

The Nov/Dec 2023 edition of NHE brings you expert comment and analysis on a range of key health sector topics, from digital transformation to navigating post-pandemic challenges.

Videos...

View all videos
National Health Executive Presents

National Health Executive Presents

NHE365 Virtual Events

NHE has created a full calendar of events to address the most important issues that influence the delivery of healthcare services. Over 365 days you'll have the opportunity to hear from a range of highly motivating, informative and inspirational speakers. These speakers will equip you with the knowledge and unique insight to enable you to overcome the challenges that you face.

National Health Executive Podcast

Ep 39.
What makes a good NHS manager? with Anthony Painter, Director of Policy at Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

In episode 39 of the National Health Executive podcast, we were joined by Anthony Painter, who is the director of policy at the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), to discuss all things management within the UK health sector and NHS.
 

During the podcast, Anthony shared some of the recent research CMI conducted in partnership with the Social Market Foundation, which centred around the state of management and leadership within the NHS.

More articles...

View all