Patients in Scotland with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) could benefit from the drug obinutuzumab (the trade name of which is Gazyvaro), after is was given the green light by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) for routine use on the NHS in Scotland.
Gazyvaro has been recommended for use in combination with chlorambucil chemotherapy for the treatment of previously untreated adult patients with CLL and co-existing medical conditions who are unsuitable for full-dose fludarabine-based therapy.
The news comes a week after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provisionally recommended Gazyvaro for NHS patients in England and Wales.
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.
Dr Matt Kaiser, Head of Research at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, said: “The approval of Gazyvaro by the SMC is very positive news for Scottish patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. This type of leukaemia remains largely incurable, so it’s vital that when advances in treatment are made that can prolong survival times, patients can benefit from them.”
More details on the decision can be found on the SMC website