'Game-changing' new treatment for lymphoma patients

08 October 2018 08:43

NHS patients with a specific type of lymphoma will soon be able to access a "game-changing" new treatment

NHS patients with a specific type of lymphoma will soon be able to access a "game-changing" new treatment

NHS patients with a specific type of lymphoma will soon be able to access a "game-changing" new treatment, health officials have revealed.

The deal announced between NHS England and manufacturer Gilead Sciences will see up to 200 adult patients per year able to receive a new form of CAR-T therapy.

The treatment will give lymphoma patients who have run out of other options a new source of hope, including those who may otherwise have just months left to live.

The news comes after a separate deal was secured last month to make a type of CAR-T therapy accessible to children living with a rare form of leukaemia.

Promising new treatment

CAR-T therapy, described as "one of the most promising new treatments in a generation for lymphoma and leukaemia", is a personalised treatment that reprogrammes immune system cells to target the cancer.

Clinical trials suggest the treatment, which would normally cost nearly £300,000 per person, could potentially cure around 40% of patients, according to NHS England.

The treatment is licensed to treat adult patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma who have had two unsuccessful chemotherapy treatments.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: "Thanks to investment in game-changing techniques like CAR-T, the NHS is at the forefront of providing a new wave of personalised treatments that are individually tailored to patients.

"CAR-T cell therapy is one of the most promising new treatments in a generation for lymphoma and leukaemia, and NHS patients will now be among the first in the world to benefit."

Effective

Dr Alasdair Rankin, director of research and patient experience at charity Bloodwise, said: "It's admirable that the NHS has worked to make this pioneering treatment available so quickly, giving hope to hundreds of patients and their families.

"It is likely that we are only beginning to see the benefits that CAR-T therapy can bring.

"Treatments will continue to improve and become more effective over the coming decade and will benefit patients with other types of cancer."

Hospitals in Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, London and Newcastle are preparing to provide CAR-T therapy in the future. CAR-T therapy was previously only available to patients in Europe through clinical trials.

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