Lung cancer treatment stops cancer worsening for over two years 

New lung cancer treatment stops cancer from worsening for over two years 
© iStock/Edwin Tan

A life-extending lung cancer treatment is available on the NHS, which could benefit over 550 patients a year.

The revolutionary lung cancer treatment is called durvalumab, which has provided striking outcomes for patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The drug stops cancer from getting worse for more than two years; a significant improvement over lung cancer treatment which combines chemotherapy and radiotherapy that can deter the disease for around six months.

Approval from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) follows a successful deal between the NHS and AstraZeneca.

Innovating lung cancer treatment

The lung cancer treatment will be offered to over 550 patients a year with NSCLC who have previously undergone chemotherapy and radiotherapy concurrently.

The drug is given to patients every four weeks and only takes one hour to administer. It is delivered as an infusion into a vein and uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells with a specific protein known as PD-L1 by attaching to them. The immune system then attacks and kills these cells.

Dame Cally Palmer, National Cancer Director for NHS England, said: “We are resolute in our ambition to fight the devastating effects of cancer and new pioneering treatments like durvalumab are a vital lifeline for people living with cancer – giving them more precious time with family and friends.

“Most of us know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer and it can affect people of all walks of life. The NHS has continued to prioritise cancer care throughout the pandemic and I urge anyone with concerns about symptoms they might be experiencing to come forward without delay and get checked, either at your GP or at one of our mobile lung cancer scanning units”.

Durvalumab: a life-extending solution

The lung cancer treatment has previously been administered to NHS patients in 2019 through the Cancer Drugs Fund to provide further data on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of the drug. The additional data enabled NICE to make a final recommendation on using the lung cancer treatment within the NHS.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This is yet another example of how the NHS is pioneering innovative treatments to give cancer patients the best possible care and more time with their loved ones.

“We continue to improve outcomes for cancer patients across England and our upcoming 10-Year Cancer Plan will set out how we will lead Europe in cancer care”.


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