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Monday 25 March 2019
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NICE recommendation gives three more treatment options for people with blood cancer

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended three blood cancer drugs, brentuximab vedotin, midostaurin and arsenic trioxide be made available on the NHS.


Two of the therapies, midostaurin, also known as the Novartis drug Rydapt, and arsenic trioxide, Teva’s Trisenox, are recommended for adults with certain types of leukaemia.


Midostaurin is a first of its kind drug that targets a protein called tyrosine kinase FLT3. Tyrosine kinase FLT3 is often damaged in people with acute myeloid leukaemia. Around 160 adults a year in England and Wales, who test positive for the mutated FLT3 gene, will be eligible for this pill.


Arsenic trioxide is recommended as an option for adults with another type of leukaemia called acute promyelocytic. This is where the person has fewer healthy blood cells than normal. The drug is given intravenously. Around 140 people a year in England will be eligible for it, NICE said.


Brentuximab vedotin, also known as Seattle Genetics’ Adcetris, was previously only available to people through the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF). Around 45 more people a year with a specific type of Hodgkin lymphoma called CD-30 positive will now have automatic right to the drug,  according to NICE.


Meindert Boysen, director of the NICE centre for health technology evaluation, said: “For the past 30 years, treatments for leukaemia have changed very little. With our positive recommendations for midostaurin and arsenic trioxide we are pleased to offer patients with leukaemia more treatments than ever before.”


Dr Alasdair Rankin, director of research and patient experience at UK blood cancer charity Bloodwise, said: “We are pleased that NICE and the drug’s manufacturers have worked together to secure access to brentuximab for future patients. This is extremely positive news and offers reassurance to people with Hodgkin lymphoma that they will be able to access the most appropriate therapies at every stage of their treatment.


He added that while standard treatments for Hodgkin lymphoma were generally successful,“this decision enables doctors to give patients the best chance of a long-term cure if they do not respond to them”. 


Brentuximab vedotin and midostaurin will be both be available at a confidential discounted price, NICE said.


Three months after NICE publishes its final guidance, all three drugs will be available to people who need them on the NHS.

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