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Targeted cancer drug made available to mantle cell lymphoma patients on NHS

The Bloodwise logo. Bloodwise appears in black text against a white background
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14 Dec 2017

We welcome today’s announcement by NICE that the drug ibrutinib will be made available on the NHS in England to people with mantle cell lymphoma who relapse or do not respond to treatment

A scientist experiments in a laboratory

Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is an aggressive type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosed in around 500 people each year in the UK, with the average age of diagnosis being 74. Until the development of ibrutinib, there were few treatments options for MCL if a patient relapsed after chemotherapy, other than further chemotherapy – which can have severe side effects and is often ineffective.

Ibrutinib is a type of drug called a Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitor that works by targeting and switching off a protein linked to cell growth and movement in cancer cells. It has been hailed by clinicians as a hugely significant advance in MCL treatment. It has been approved for use in MCL for NHS patients in Scotland since August 2016, but until now it has only been available to patients in England through the Cancer Drugs Fund.

Dr Alasdair Rankin, Director of Research and Patient Experience at Bloodwise, said: “Many decades of research have produced an increasing number of new targeted drugs for blood cancer patients. Where these treatments improve patient outcomes they should be made available on the NHS. Bloodwise has campaigned for all MCL patients in the UK to have access to the best care available.  So we are delighted that ibrutinib, a life changing and highly effective targeted treatment, will now be made routinely available on the NHS in England.”