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Bradley Lowery's mother 'overjoyed' by cancer drug approval

13 July 2018 08:11

Bradley Lowery with England striker, Jermaine Defoe

Bradley Lowery with England striker, Jermaine Defoe

The mother of Bradley Lowery has welcomed the news that a drug used to help treat her son will soon be made available for other patients on the NHS.

Bradley, the young football mascot that captured the nation's affections, died last July at the age of six following a battle with neuroblastoma.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended the drug for use under final draft guidance published on Thursday.

Gemma Lowery said she was "overjoyed" at the recommendation, which evidence suggests could increase the chances of survival.

Rare cancer

High-risk neuroblastoma is a rare type of cancer that mainly affects children and young people, with Bradley first diagnosed when he was just 18 months old.

The Sunderland fan, from Blackhall, County Durham, received the drug during clinical trials, which his mother said helped to temporarily clear the cancer.

While there is "uncertainty around the long-term clinical benefit" of the drug, Nice said the "potential survival gain" offered by its use was "substantial".

Mrs Lowery said: "This is a huge step forward in the world of neuroblastoma and takes away so much stress for the families whose children are fighting against it.

"I know first-hand how this drug is a huge benefit to children who have neuroblastoma.

"Making it available on the NHS for children with high-risk neuroblastoma will be a huge relief for parents and will give them hope."

Effective treatment

Meindert Boysen, director of the Nice centre for health technology evaluation, said the drug "is an important treatment option for children and young people with high-risk neuroblastoma".

"We are grateful to the company for responding to our evaluation by setting a price which is cost-effective to the NHS," he said.

"We welcome this new and effective treatment option."

Neuroblastoma develops from specialised nerve cells left behind from a baby's development in the womb and affects around 100 children each year in the UK, most commonly under the age of five.

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