NICE has approved the use of NHS England’s Cancer Drugs Fund to fund the use of the first chimeric antigen receptor T-cell childhood cancer treatment in Europe, for children and young adults under 25 years old with refractory acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in relapse post-transplant or in later stage relapse, and adults with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-Cell lymphoma. Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) will only be available to 30 NHS patients annually who have failed a series of earlier treatments.
Director of Research at Bloodwise, Dr Alasdair Rankin, said: “CAR-T cell therapy is the most exciting advance in treatment for childhood leukaemia for decades. Intensive chemotherapy can now cure the vast majority of children but a significant number still tragically die every year because they do not respond to treatment. CAR-T cell therapy offers the genuine chance of a long-term cure for children who otherwise would have no other hope.”
“NICE has approved the use of NHS England’s Cancer Drugs Fund to fund the use of the first chimeric antigen receptor T-cell childhood cancer treatment in Europe. “
Steve Bates, CEO of BioIndustry Association, said: “Today’s decisions by NICE and NHS England shows that the UK is well set to be the best country in the world in which to invent, trial, develop, manufacture and market next-generation CAR-T cell cancer therapies. The ability for NICE and NHS England to say yes for English patients to receive this new therapy within weeks of a drug regulatory approval will be a significant and pleasant surprise to the global industry. Away from the headlines, industry, government and the NHS has laid the groundwork for adopting this type of innovation for a number of years so it’s fantastic to see UK patients starting to see the benefit of years of research and development. This step should enable the UK to be the first country in Europe where patients benefit from full access to this breakthrough treatment.”