Ahead of the European Commission’s official launch of ‘Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan’, The Health Policy Partnership and an expert-led steering committee met at the European Parliament in Brussels to launch a new report, Radioligand therapy: realising the potential of targeted cancer care.
The event, co- hosted by Tanja Fajon MEP (S&D, Slovenia) and Ewa Kopacz MEP (EPP, Poland), featured presentations on the growing importance of radioligand therapy as part of cancer care, led by patient representatives and experts in oncology, nuclear medicine and European health policy. Speakers considered the political and practical actions needed to create an enabling environment for radioligand therapy in the EU to better integrate it into current oncology approaches.
Radioligand therapy delivers radiation directly to cancer cells, using structural differences to target these specific cells anywhere in the body while leaving healthy cells largely unaffected. It is an increasingly promising element of cancer care and its use has expanded significantly in recent years – but uptake and availability remain highly variable across Europe. Radioligand therapy is currently approved for use in neuroendocrine cancers and metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer that has spread to bones, and may have applications for many different types of cancer and even other diseases.
Discussions at the launch event centred around the barriers and recommendations for radioligand therapy identified in the new report. Barriers include low awareness and understanding within the health community and unclear models of care. The proposed recommendations to address these challenges range from increasing use of multidisciplinary care in oncology to boosting investment in real-world data collection.
Suzanne Wait, Managing Director, The Health Policy Partnership says: ‘The challenges to integrating radioligand therapy into cancer care are not unique to this form of treatment – and reflecting on them from all perspectives (that of clinicians, patients, regulatory agencies, hospitals and policymakers) may help progress towards more personalised and integrated models of cancer care.’
Radioligand therapy can be personalised to individual patients and relies on strong multidisciplinary teamwork among expert clinicians. Cancer is the second highest cause of death in Europe and its prevalence is set to increase in the coming years. As more people are living with cancer, and living longer with the disease, quality of life is increasingly being prioritised in treatment and care planning. With fewer side effects than conventional cancer treatments, radioligand therapy can help cancer patients live with improved quality of life.