Thousands of men in the UK are set to benefit from a new prostrate cancer drug that can be taken at home.
The drug, enzalutamide, has been recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as an option for treating some types of the disease, and is reportedly especially beneficial for people who can't have chemotherapy.
"This is fantastic news for thousands of men with advanced prostate cancer, especially those who have additional illnesses that make them unsuitable for chemotherapy," said Angela Culhane, chief executive at Prostate Cancer UK.
"It finally guarantees them access to a treatment which is just as effective as chemotherapy and can give them back precious time with their families."
An estimated 8,500 men will be able to access the drug, which works by blocking the effect of the hormone testosterone on prostate cancer cells. Clinical trials have found that it slows the worsening of the disease and extends patients’ life expectancy.
The drug has already been used during the pandemic because the fact it can be taken at home means it's a 'COVID-friendly' cancer drug. Now, new draft guidance from NICE – which says the drug can be used with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), also known as hormone therapy – will enable its wider and continued use.
Prof Peter Johnson, clinical director for cancer for the NHS in England, hailed the drug’s approval as “one of the lasting legacies of the NHS’s response to the pandemic.”
“Throughout the last year, the NHS has been offering people with cancer treatment options that are not only effective but safer and more convenient for use during the pandemic, allowing many to take medication at home or be given medicines with less harmful effects on their immune system,” he said.
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