Cancer patient in oncology unit

NHS to quarter treatment times thanks to world-first cancer jab launch

Treatment times for NHS cancer patients are set to be cut by as much as three-quarters thanks to a ground-breaking new injection that only takes seven minutes to administer.

The immunotherapy, atezolizumab, is currently taken intravenously by patients and, although this process usually takes around half an hour, if a vein is difficult to access it can take up to an hour.

Following this news however, hundreds of patients will be eligible to switch to this more patient-friendly, quicker subcutaneous injection.

NHS England will be the first health system globally to launch the injection after approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

                                                                        Video credit: Canva

NHS England expects the majority of the circa 3,600 patients who start treatment on atezolizumab annually to be able to make the transition.

The more efficient treatment will come at no extra cost to the NHS either, as a result of the existing commercial deal between the health service and the drug’s manufacturer, Roche.

Consultant oncologist at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Alexander Martin, said: “This is great news for both patients and clinicians. We welcome any new initiative that brings speedier treatment to patients and gives them more comfortable care.”

He continued: “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.”

Image credit: iStock

NHE March/April 2024

NHE March/April 2024

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Ep 42. Leadership in the NHS

In episode 42 of the National Health Executive podcast we were joined by Steve Gulati who is an associate professor at the University of Birmingham as well as director of healthcare leadership at the university’s Health Services Management Centre.