A JAB that can reduce treatment times for cancer patients by 75 per cent is to be introduced as a world first in the NHS.
By injecting atezolizumab — an immunotherapy drug — hundreds of patients will see treatment time cut from half an hour to seven minutes.
Professor Peter Johnson of the NHS said: “Maintaining the best possible quality of life for cancer patients is vital, so the introduction of faster injections will make an important difference.”
“The world’s first introduction of this treatment will result in hundreds of patients spending less time in hospital and gaining valuable time in NHS chemotherapy units.”
Atezolizumab, also known as Tecentriq, is a drug used to treat cancer of the lung, breast, liver and bladder and is given to around 3,600 patients in England each year.
It is expected that the majority of these people will now receive the drug via an injection rather than an IV like the current method.
Patients receiving atezolizumab in addition to chemotherapy can continue to receive the drug intravenously.
Known as a “checkpoint inhibitor,” the drug helps the immune system find and kill cancer cells.
NHS England will be the first healthcare system in the world to introduce the injectable version of the drug after it has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.
Marius Scholtz, medical director of Roche Products Limited, which makes the vaccine, said the company was “delighted” that the drug would be distributed to the NHS.
He said: “Injecting Tecentriq under the skin offers a faster treatment option.”
“It takes about seven minutes, compared to 30 to 60 minutes with Tecentriq’s current method of intravenous infusion.”