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Search and destroy drug that could extend lives of advanced prostate cancer patients gets approval

Hope for advanced prostate cancer patients as search and destroy drug that could extend life expectancy gets approval

  • The intravenous drug is called Lutetium (177Lu) vipivotide tetraxetan
  • It tracks down cancer cells and delivers radioactive payload to destroy them 
  • Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency give drug green light
  • Treatment could extend lives of 3,500 patients a year by average of four months

A radical ‘search and destroy’ treatment which could extend the lives of thousands of men with advanced prostate cancer has been approved by regulators.

The treatment works like a guided missile – tracking down cancer cells in the body and delivering a radioactive payload to destroy them.

Trial results suggest it can extend patients’ lives by an average of four months. Now the intravenous drug, called Lutetium (177Lu) vipivotide tetraxetan, which has the brand name Pluvicto, has been given the green light by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

It is hoped a decision on whether it will be rolled out on the NHS, by the watchdog the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, will come later this year.

The intravenous drug (not pictured), called Lutetium (177Lu) vipivotide tetraxetan, which has the brand name Pluvicto, has been given the green light by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

The treatment could give around 3,500 men a year more time with their families. It has not yet been approved anywhere else in Europe.

Johann de Bono, professor of experimental cancer medicine at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and consultant medical oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘This is a major clinical advance for one the biggest killer cancers for men – improving survival significantly along with quality of life, with few side effects.

The drug, made by Novartis, targets a protein on the surface of prostate cancer cells called PSMA – prostate-specific membrane antigen

The drug, made by Novartis, targets a protein on the surface of prostate cancer cells called PSMA – prostate-specific membrane antigen

He added: ‘This approach also has promise for other cancers.’

The drug, made by Novartis, targets a protein on the surface of prostate cancer cells called PSMA – prostate-specific membrane antigen. It contains a molecule, known as PSMA-617, which seeks out and binds to PSMA. Then it delivers a targeted blast of radiotherapy, thus sparing healthy tissue.

Joseph Woollcott of Prostate Cancer UK, said: ‘Men with advanced prostate cancer currently have limited treatment options, and this could open up a whole new avenue for a more targeted, precise type of therapy.’

The Daily Mail has campaigned for an urgent improvement of prostate cancer treatments and diagnosis. There are around 52,300 new cases in the UK every year, or more than 140 a day.

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