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UK approves shot to treat cancer in seven minutes

A new drug approved for use in the British NHS reduces therapy time to just seven minutes.



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The UK's National Health Service (NHS) is offering a new method for immunotherapy treatments to its patients. It is a new way of administering drugs to treat cancer that reduces the time of the sessions to seven minutes.

The new method in which atezolizumab is administered saves cancer patients from having to wait between 30 minutes to an hour to receive their dose of immunotherapy. It is a subcutaneous injection, rather than an intravenous drip.

The British NHS will begin offering this solution to its patients after the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) gave the go-ahead to this new method that will serve to treat lung, breast, liver and bladder cancer.

Atezolizumab, the drug with which the new method is compatible, is an immunotherapy drug manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Grenentech. It is usually given to patients using the drip method that can last more than 30 minutes per session.

"This approval will not only allow us to offer comfortable and faster care to our patients, but will also allow our teams to treat more patients throughout the day," explained Alexander Martin, consultant oncologist at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, during the presentation of the new pathway.

The NHS expects that many of the 3,600 annual patients who go through atezolizumab immunotherapy treatment in England will opt for the injection instead of the drip.