Leukaemia and L...
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New chronic lymphocytic leukaemia drug set to become available

Leukaemia and L...
Posted by
02 Dec 2014

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has provisionally recommended the chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) drug obinutuzumab (the trade name of which is Gazyvaro) for NHS patients in England and Wales. The positive news comes less than two months after NICE’s initial decision against the NHS funding the drug.

Gazyvaro works by attaching itself to the surface of abnormal white blood cells, which are overproduced in CLL, and then causes the cells to die. In recent years the introduction of these targeted immune proteins, known as monoclonal antibodies, has been very successful at extending survival times for CLL patients. Unfortunately not every patient currently responds to treatment.

Gazyvaro is a ‘second generation’ monoclonal antibody, which has been shown in clinical trials to give patients around an extra year in remission, compared to the ‘first generation’ monoclonal antibody rituximab.

NICE will recommend Gazyvaro in combination with the chemotherapy drug chlorambucil for CLL patients who have not previously received any other treatment for their leukaemia.

Professor Chris Bunce, Research Director at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, said: “The decision by NICE to reverse their stance regarding Gazyvaro is very welcome news. Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia is the most common type of adult leukaemia in the UK.

“The disease remains largely incurable but Gazyvaro has been proven to significantly prolong survival times for many patients. It is encouraging to see drug companies and NICE showing persistence in working together in order to ensure that patients can benefit from new treatments.”

Comments

03.12.2014

This is wonderful news for CLL patients and yet another feather in the cap for clinical trials. Having seen Dr Chris Pepper speak about the work that he and his research team are doing into CLL in Cardiff, a major breakthrough in the treatment of CLL could be in touching distance and is long overdue. I know they're all working really hard and fingers crossed that they get there soon!

Anonymous
03.12.2014

This is the type of leukaemia I have. I responded very well to chemotherapy when I was first diagnosed 3 years ago and haven't required any further treatment.

Anonymous
03.12.2014

That is wonderful news. I had CLL/SLL - Non Hodgkins, completed FCR in March. So good to know.

Anonymous
04.12.2014

Why do we have to pay to live if you have cancer,we put millions of pounds in research, and when they find a cure or a prolong of life drug they say it's to expensive, what is the point of giving money, let's stop this and pull together, after all were all in the same big world,,