London: A novel breast cancer treatment that takes just five minutes instead of the current two and a half hours has been launched across the UK by the National Health Service (NHS) England.
The injection called Phesgo will be offered to eligible patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, undergoing chemotherapy. It takes as little as five minutes to prepare and administer, compared with two infusions that can take up to two and a half hours.
Phesgo jabs can be given alongside chemotherapy or on its own. The injection will also significantly cut down the risk of COVID infection for cancer patients by reducing the amount of time spent in hospital.
"This new injection, which can substantially cut treatment time for people with breast cancer, is the latest in a series of changes which have meant the NHS has been able to deliver vital cancer treatment while keeping patients safe from Covid," Peter Johnson, NHS national clinical director for cancer, said in a statement.
Phesgo is a fixed-dose combination of pertuzumab with trastuzumab that previously would have been given as separate IV infusions.
"Approval of Phesgo being used on the NHS in England is fantastic news as thousands of women with HER2 positive breast cancer will now benefit from a quicker and kinder treatment method," said Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now.
"Reducing the time patients need to spend in hospital, this more efficient treatment method also promises to free up precious time for healthcare professionals when the NHS is already under unprecedented strain due to COVID-19," Morgan added.
The NHS has prioritised cancer care during the coronavirus pandemic and the latest figures show that hospitals carried out more than two cancer treatments for every patient they treated for COVID-19, the statement said.