Anthracyclines are anti-cancer medicines given to more than half of the 1,900 children diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK .
Unfortunately, these medicines have the potential to cause heart problems in up to 65% of children, severely reducing their quality of life as a young adult and beyond. These side effects are linked to avoidable instances of high medicine ‘exposure’.
Getting the anthracycline dose right for children is a clinical challenge. Until now, the best way has been to use the patient’s height and weight as a guide. This problem with this is that medicines are processed very differently between children, even if they have the same body size.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of information on childhood response, this is not considered by current treatment methods. This is further complicated by other factors, such as gender, age, ethnicity and nutrition. The result is a variation in medicine exposure that reduces drug safety and effectiveness.
Cancer treatment is beginning to use information on how patients process their medicine to adjust the amount of drug given to each child. This involves measuring drug levels in the patient’s blood and how long the drug stays in the body – also known as drug monitoring.
However, this approach currently uses a costly service that suffers from time delays and difficult planning, along with an inability to support additional patient groups.
Crucially, patients and doctors have limited ownership of the process, which further prevents its regular and widespread use.
What is needed?
Drug monitoring led cancer treatment requires a new approach
An automated and
that is consistent
A process that is
rapid and reliable
are easy to use
at the point-of-care