UK licences 'milestone' ovarian cancer pill

19 December 2017 10:13

Around 7,400 British women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year

Around 7,400 British women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year

A breakthrough ovarian cancer treatment has been launched in Britain, with the potential to prolong patients' lives and hold back the cancer - reducing relapse times.

The once-a-day pill, named Niraparib, is part of a new class of drugs that target cancers with defective DNA repair systems.

New hope for patients

This latest trial shows Niraparib can massively increase the length of time before cancer returns following chemotherapy.

Results show that for some women - those with an inherited BRCA gene mutation - the length of time before reoccurrence increased from five and a half months to 21 months, when compared with patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment alone.

The study also shows that women without the BRCA mutation benefit from the drug, experiencing double their relapse times.

"Niraparib is the first treatment of its class licensed to delay the progression of ovarian cancer following platinum-based chemotherapy, regardless of BRCA status," says Professor Jonathan Ledermann, from the University College London Cancer Institute.

He continued: "This represents a critical milestone in the management of ovarian cancer. Access to effective and tolerable medicines is sorely needed and the hope is that niraparib will be available in the NHS as quickly as possible."

'Nationwide roll-out'

Around 7,400 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year in Britain, with around 85% of patients seeing it reoccur after treatment.

The cost of the treatment and benefits to the patients are weighed up by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) in England and Wales and the Scottish Medicines Consortium in Scotland.

Katherine Taylor, chief executive of the charity Ovarian Cancer Action, said: "Today's news is an encouraging step in the right direction but we now need to ensure all UK women diagnosed with recurrent platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer can benefit.

"We call upon the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the Scottish Medicines Consortium to approve this drug to provide more treatment options for those diagnosed with ovarian cancer - for many women this could be life changing."

Whatever stage your cancer is at, we may still be able to cover you for holidays and overseas travel with our specialist cancer travel insurance.

Share this on Facebook Tweet this Share this on LinkedIn Email this