BTG plc, the specialist healthcare company, today announced the treatment of the first patient in Singapore with TheraSphere®, a treatment for primary liver cancer and metastatic colorectal cancer, specifically engineered to deliver powerful doses of radiation to the tumour while minimising exposure to normal tissue.
Associate Professor Stephen Chang, Liver Tumour Group Lead and Senior Consultant, National University Cancer Institute, Singapore and National University Hospital, said: “Liver cancer is a deadly disease that impacts hundreds of people in Singapore each year and has a high mortality rate. This newly available therapy aims to destroy tumour cells, while maintaining the patient’s quality of life.”
TheraSphere® is a targeted therapy that consists of millions of glass microspheres containing radioactive yttrium-90. The microspheres are about 20-30 micrometers in diameter about a third of the width of a human hair. They are delivered directly to liver tumours through the hepatic artery using a catheter. The glass microspheres flow directly into the liver tumour via its blood vessels and become permanently lodged there. Because the procedure delivers the treatment directly to the liver tumour, the radiation destroys the tumour cells with minimal impact to the surrounding healthy liver tissue. The radioactive microspheres continue to deliver radiation to the tumour over the course of several weeks after treatment. TheraSphere® can also be used as a bridge to surgical removal of diseased tissue or transplantation in these patients.
James Glasgow, General Manager, BTG Asia, said: “Today’s announcement is an important milestone for this therapy and for BTG’s geographic expansion in Asia. Singapore is the second Asian market where we have launched TheraSphere® and we’re proud to be providing a new treatment option for patients with liver cancer.”
In Singapore TheraSphere® is approved for both hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), also known as primary liver cancer, and metastatic liver cancer or cancer that has spread to the liver from another point of origin. Distributed in Singapore by Transmedic PTE Ltd., TheraSphere® is also commercially available in Hong Kong. Over 18,000 patients worldwide have been treated with TheraSphere®.
The National University Hospital in Singapore, and more than 20 hospitals across Asia, will also be participating in three international Phase III clinical trials of TheraSphere®.
• The EPOCH trial, evaluating TheraSphere® in patients with metastatic colorectal carcinoma (mCRC) of the liver who have failed first-line chemotherapy.
• The STOP-HCC trial, evaluating TheraSphere® in the treatment of patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma.
• The YES-P trial, evaluating TheraSphere® versus the standard of care (sorafenib) for the treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma with portal vein thrombosis.
About Liver Cancer
The Asia-Pacific region accounts for up to 80% of the world’s total liver cancer cases.[ii] Liver cancer is the 4th most common cancer among men in Singapore, accounting for 7.5% of the male incidence of cancers and has the 3rd highest mortality rate.
Primary liver cancer occurs when liver cells become abnormal and grow uncontrollably, forming a tumour. The most common form of primary liver cancer is called hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). It is one of the most common forms of cancer worldwide, with an estimated one million new cases diagnosed each year. Long term infection with the hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus, which are more prevalent in Asian countries, are a common cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer.
The liver, which continuously filters blood circulating through the body, is also susceptible to “secondary” cancers, caused when tumours in other organs such as the colon, rectum, breast, head or neck have spread to the liver. These tumours are also known as liver metastases. The liver is the most common site of metastasis in patients with colorectal cancer.
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BTG (btgplc.com) is a growing international specialist healthcare company bringing to market innovative products in specialist areas of medicine to better serve doctors and their patients. We have a portfolio of Interventional Medicine products to advance the treatment of liver tumours, severe blood clots, varicose veins and advanced emphysema, and Specialty Pharmaceuticals that help patients overexposed to certain medications or toxins. Inspired by patient and physician needs, BTG is investing to expand its portfolio to address some of today’s most complex healthcare challenges.
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[ii] Comprehensive Liver Cancer Clinic (CLCC) at the National Cancer Center Singapore
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