Approval for life-extending lung cancer drug is wonderful news for patients and their loved ones
Patients in England living with the most common types of lung cancer will be able to benefit from a new immunotherapy drug.
Carol Belding, (left) with her family and (right) from the #HeadHigh photoshoot, knows the impact immunotherapy can have on a person's quality of life. She is currently five years post diagnosis.
Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, the only UK charity dedicated solely to lung cancer, greets the decision as ‘a very welcome development for many people living with advanced lung cancer’.
The health ‘watchdog’ NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) which regulates NHS therapies for patients in England and Wales is now recommending the use of atezolizumab (trade name Tecentriq) to treat patients with non-small cell lung cancer whose disease has progressed following standard chemotherapy.
Atezolizumab blocks PD-L1, a ligand found on the surface of cancer cells that camouflages them from detection, and thereby destruction, by the immune system.
"It’s particularly exciting that atezolizumab is applicable for patients with such a wide variety of types of non-small cell lung cancer. While extending life as much as possible is a huge priority for patients, their quality of life is equally important."
Paula Chadwick, Chief Executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
Clinical data showed that people with NSCLC treated with atezolizumab lived a median of 13.8 months, 4.2 months longer than those receiving standard chemotherapy, while also experiencing fewer side effects.
Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation advocates for ALL appropriate immunotherapy drugs to be available for ALL UK lung patients who might benefit.
Paula Chadwick, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Although by far the most common cause of cancer death in the UK, lung cancer still remains a much overlooked condition.
“For many people living with advanced lung cancer, every additional day of life provides opportunities to share time with their families, their friends and loved ones. That’s why treatments which offer them extra time are so valuable.
“It’s particularly exciting that atezolizumab is applicable for patients with such a wide variety of types of non-small cell lung cancer. While extending life as much as possible is a huge priority for patients, their quality of life is equally important.
“There is a need for treatments that will improve survival, without compromising the additional time added. This decision by NICE recognises these factors; it’s wonderful news and we welcome it.
“Immunotherapy is still a new and developing area which may provide a brighter future for lung cancer patients and those who love them. Today is a good day for us – but a better one for lung cancer patients.”
Lung cancer remains the UK’s biggest cancer killer. Every year, 46,000 people are diagnosed with the disease and it claims around 36,000 lives each year.