News in brief: Myeloma drugs seek PBS listing; Roche leads on haematology drug trials; Infusion sets don’t need replacing so often

Push to have 2 myeloma drugs listed on PBS

The Leukaemia Foundation is lobbying for patients with myeloma to have PBS-subisdised access to two new therapies.

CEO Chris Tanti says the Foundation is making submissions to PBAC for selinexor (Xpovio) in combination with bortezomib and dexamethasone, to treat relapsed and refractory myeloma, and, separately, in combination with dexamethasone to treat myeloma for patients who have received at least four other therapy options. It is also repeating its push to see elotuzumab (Empliciti) listed for use in combination with lenalidomide and dexamethasone for treatment of relapsed and refractory myeloma.

“Just five months ago we celebrated the news that for the first time in 13 years, a new type of medicine targeting myeloma – daratumumab – was being made available on the PBS to support patients as a second line treatment option. This was a fantastic and important win which the Leukaemia Foundation strongly advocated for,” Mr Tanti said.

“But there is still a high unmet need for new myeloma treatment options,” he said.

Industry sponsors blood cancer clinical trials in Australia

Roche Australia is the top pharmaceutical company sponsoring oncology research in Australia with around $44 million annual funding supporting 156 clinical trials, according to market analysts GlobalData. In a new report on trials initiated since 2016, Roche is ranked first ahead of Merck (134 trials), Bristol Myers Squibb (129 trials), Astrazeneca (75 trials) and Novartis (62 trials).

According to GlobalData, the highest number of trials is in haematologic cancer followed by breast cancer, lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, and other solid tumours.

“Despite high incidence rates, [cancer] mortality rate is low in Australia due to early and extensive screening. Owing to the government’s greater focus on managing cancer, patients can gain access to good diagnostic facilities, healthcare and novel cancer therapies. Participation in clinical trials ensures early access to unapproved novel therapies,” said Sasmitha Sahu, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData.

Infusion sets don’t need replacing so often

Routine replacement of infusion sets can be safely extended from 4 to 7 days without any increase in catheter-related bloodstream infections (CRBSI).

An Australian RCT of almost 3,000 adult and paediatric acute medical, surgical, oncology, haematology and critical care patients across 10 hospitals found CRBSI rates in patients with central venous access devices were 1·46% in the standard care, 4-day group versus 1·78% in the 7-day group.

For patients with peripheral arterial catheters, no patients in the 4-day group had CRBSI and 0·28% of patients in the 7-day group.

There were no treatment-related adverse events.

Lead author Professor Claire Rickard, from the Alliance for Vascular Access Teaching and Research, said extending the time to replacement would save healthcare costs by reducing demand on skilled nursing time as well as the quantity of plastic waste.

“We found replacing infusion sets at four days made absolutely no difference to infection risk, compared to waiting seven days. Nurses are too busy to be changing equipment if there is no good reason to change it.”

The Lancet


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