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New drug will improve survival rates for leukaemia patients in Scotland

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Updated 12 Jun 2018

A targeted cancer drug that reduces the chances of relapse for people with an aggressive type of leukaemia will be made available on the NHS in Scotland.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) announced today that doctors can use midostaurin (also known by its brand name Rydapt) to treat the third of patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) whose cancer carries a genetic mutation that makes them more likely to relapse.

Bloodwise has advocated for the approval of midostaurin during the SMC’s consultation process, as a clinical trial found that the drug improved survival rates in younger patients with AML with a mutation to a gene known as ‘FLT3’. Half (51.4 per cent) of patients initially treated with midostaurin combined with chemotherapy were alive four years after beginning treatment, compared to 44.3 per cent of patients who received chemotherapy alone.

Midostaurin has also been approved by the SMC for use as a ‘maintenance treatment’ after patients finish intensive chemotherapy treatment, which has been shown to reduce the risk of relapse. 

Dr Alasdair Rankin, Director of Research and Patient Experience at Bloodwise, said: “Today’s announcement is hugely positive news for people in Scotland who are diagnosed with this particular type of AML. Midostaurin has been shown to have minimal side effects and offers the reassurance to patients that everything possible is being done to reduce their chances of the disease coming back.”

Around 200 people are diagnosed with AML each year in Scotland. Midostaurin was also approved for use on the NHS in England in May this year for people with AML with the FLT3 genetic mutation . More information about today’s decision can be found on the SMC website.

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