Scientist looking intently at a microscope slide

NHS patients to benefit from cutting-edge cancer treatment deal

NICE has recommended the use of a new cutting-edge cancer treatment, which will see NHS patients be among the first in the world to be offered the new therapy.

NHS clinicians in England will now be able to consider the new personalised treatment for some patients with a form of lymphoma, a cancer which attacks the immune system.

The treatment, known as autologous anti-CD19-transduced CD3+ (or sometimes Tecartus), is a CAR-T therapy which uses the patient’s white blood cells, which are then re-engineered in a laboratory so they can recognise and attack cancer cells, before being infused back into the patient.

New NICE guidance issued on January 19, 2021 says the treatment can be considered for those with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma, who must previously have had a type of drug called Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor.

NICE agreed a managed access agreement for the drug, via the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), in association with the manufacturer so that more data can be collected while patients access the treatment.

NHS England also agreed with the manufacturer a confidential discount for use of the therapy.

There is no standard treatment for adults, who are usually in their 70s, with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma after a BTK inhibitor.

While a drug combination known as R BAC is the most common treatment, it is thought this new CAR-T therapy could be used to treat around 100 patients a year in England.

Evidence from a study of the new treatment, seen by NICE’s independent appraisal committee, suggests that people being treated with the CAR-T therapy may live for longer and have more time before their disease relapses.

However, there is not enough evidence to tell if lymphoma patients having the CAR-T therapy can be cured, which is why the NICE committee has asked for further data to be collected on progression-free survival, overall survival, and the age when treatment starts.

Meindert Boysen, deputy chief executive and director of NICE’s centre for health technology evaluation, said: “We are pleased to be able to recommend another revolutionary CAR T-cell therapy, this time for adults with mantle cell lymphoma, which represents a step forward for personalised medicine.

“Clinicians will be able to consider this innovative therapy for their patients because of joint working between NICE, NHS England and NHS Improvement and the company.

“CAR T-cell therapy is expensive. The treatment is specific to each individual and could be a potential cure for some, although it is early days. Our recommendation for Tecartus, on the Cancer Drugs Fund, means people can benefit while more data is collected.”

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said: “It is great news that more people with lymphoma will have access to an innovative new CAR-T cancer therapy thanks to our Cancer Drugs Fund, addressing a particular need for people with mantle cell lymphoma.

“Despite the pressures of the pandemic, the NHS continues to place effective, innovative treatments into the hands of clinicians for the benefit of the patients we treat.”

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