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Innovative Cancer Care Fund to boost liver cancer survival rates

Professor Derek Manas

Consultant Hepatobiliary and Transplant Surgeon, Newcastle Hospital

Pictured above: The TheraSphere® Ytrrium90 are Glass Beads for SIRT therapy. Specifically Engineered to treat Liver Cancer.

Emerging non-drug technologies have the potential to save lives affected by liver cancer, but the full benefit will only be seen if access to NHS treatment is improved.

A proposed new Innovative Cancer Care Fund will help patients and the NHS to access novel non-drug therapies faster.

Every day, 16 people are newly diagnosed with liver cancer. But, fewer than two in every ten will access live-saving surgery: the damage to their liver is just too great or the cancer too widespread.

Championing the use of other technologies

There have been huge advances in Chemotherapy treatments, especially for bowel cancer spread to the liver or primary cancer that develops in a liver with cirrhosis. These treatments may control the disease for a period of time, but a cure requires surgery and our aim is to get as many people as possible to curative surgery, says Professor Derek Manas, Consultant Hepatobiliary and Transplant Surgeon at Newcastle Hospital. That’s why he’s championing the use of other technologies.

“In some people they turn out to be a real game-changer,” he explains.

The Innovative Cancer Care Fund aims to bring non-drug treatments onto a par with drug therapies for cancer, which are funded and supported in use in the NHS by the Cancer Drug Fund (CDF).

“The CDF has been very successful in widening treatment availability, but adoption of non-drug therapies has really fallen behind,” says Professor Manas.

The right treatments at the right time

Emergent non-drug techniques such as selective internal radiation therapies (SIRT) (pictured above) would be covered by the CDF, opening up the possibility of potentially curative treatment options to an additional three in ten people diagnosed with liver cancer.

The CDF could also cover techniques such as cryotherapy, thermal ablation and Irreversible electroporation, which have a proven role in treating other cancers.

As factors such as obesity drive rates of liver cancer ever upwards, there is more need for patients to be able to access the right treatments at the right time.

Professor Manas says, “Patients tolerate these treatments very well, often with minimal pain, and an improved quality of life.”

As a result, they are often out of hospital faster, with subsequent savings to the NHS.

Supported by Boston Scientific

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