Artist impression of a blood cancer cell close up

New treatment recommended for difficult-to-treat cancer

People with difficult-to-treat multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, are set to be able to access a new treatment option after NICE recommended it for use within the Cancer Drugs Fund.

The treatment – isatuximab, administered as an intravenous infusion, plus pomalidomide and dexamethasone – has been recommended for use as an option for treating relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma in adults.

Following the NICE recommendation, it is set to be offered as a treatment option to those people who have had lenalidomide and a proteasome inhibitor, and whose disease has progressed from their last treatment if they have had three previous forms of treatment.

Around 500 people a year are set to benefit from NICE’s recommendation.

As part of the recommended use guidance, it also states that the conditions of a confidential managed access agreement for the new isatuximab treatment must be followed.

Meindert Boysen, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE, said: “Our independent appraisal committee has recognised more treatment options are needed for those with difficult-to-treat multiple myeloma. These are patients whose disease has returned or become resistant to the treatments they’ve already had.

“Some of the data our committee has already seen shows promise that isatuximab plus pomalidomide and dexamethasone delays the disease from progressing and increases how long people live compared with current treatment options.

“Its use via the Cancer Drugs Fund will add a fourth line treatment option while data from an on-going clinical trial and from NHS use is collected to establish whether it is cost effective.”

The treatment could not be recommended for routine use on the NHS because of uncertainty within the cost-effectiveness estimates, as there are limitations in the clinical data. However, NICE also noted that the collection of more data from an ongoing trial, and from NHS practice, will help to address some of these uncertainties.

Approximately 5,700 new cases of multiple myeloma are diagnosed each year in the UK, making it the fifth most common cancer overall.

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