Thousands of men likely to benefit from new drug which extends life

We at PCR are delighted by this morning’s news that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) gave the green light yesterday for the revolutionary treatment Pluvicto to be used in men with advanced cancer.

We extend our congratulations to Swiss company Novartis, who made the drug, all the scientists who have worked on it, and the patients who have been involved in the research which helped us reach the point where men facing a very difficult situation now have another option.

Pluvicto is a “radioligand” therapy, a type of treatment in which radioactive materials are attached to drugs which are attracted to and stick to certain proteins found on tumor cells. This makes radiotherapy better at hunting down cancer cells, and less likely to harm normal, healthy cells in the body. Pluvicto works by detecting a protein called prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), which is found in 80 to 90% of prostate cancers.


The Phase 3 VISION clinical trail, which involved 831 patients, 551 of whom received the treatment, showed that Pluvicto extends life by around five months in terminal cases. In the UK, it is estimated that around 3,500 men will benefit from this treatment every year.

“This is a massive step forward, especially for patients who have cancer which has spread to other organs and has stopped responding to other treatments. Far too many people are still dying, still losing loved ones to advanced cancer, and this new treatment gives the patients who need it most another option. We encourage NICE and the SMC to prioritize making this life-saving drug available to the patients who desperately need it.”

Dr Naomi Elster
Director of Research

When will Pluvicto be available?

Health watchdogs NICE (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) and the SMC (Scotland) are currently considering rolling out the treatment across the NHS. NICE is due to make its decision in November, and if they decide to roll it out, patients in England, Wales and Northern Ireland should have access to the drug in late February. The SMC has not yet published the timeline in which it hopes to make a decision.

Who is it likely to be given to?

Men with prostate cancer which has spread to other organs and does not respond to hormone therapy, who have already received hormone therapy and chemotherapy.

Related work funded by PCR

One of our teams, based in Oxford, has been investigating whether combining Pluvicto with other treatments could make it work even better, and help even more men than the 3,500 men currently estimated to benefit from it (out of over 50,000 men diagnosed every year and 12,000 deaths annually). Read more about their research here.

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