Kymriah is first CAR-T therapy to be made available on the NHS

Patients under 25 years old with refractory or relapsed B cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia could have access to the therapy within weeks.

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Last updated: 9:55, 05/09/18

NHS patients will benefit from Europe’s first full access deal on the breakthrough CAR-T therapy. Patients aged up to 25 years old with B cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) that is refractory, in relapse post-transplant or in second or later relapse could start receiving treatment shortly, after NICE also green-lighted the treatment for entry into the reformed NHS Cancer Drugs Fund.

NHS England’s commercial deal with the manufacturer Novartis is the first in Europe, and comes less than 10 days after the treatment was granted its European marketing authorization. It represents one of the fastest funding approvals in the 70 year history of the NHS.

At the Health Innovation Expo in Manchester, Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, is expected to say: “CAR-T therapy is a true game changer, and NHS cancer patients are now going to be amongst the first in the world to benefit. Today’s approval is proof-positive that, in our 70th year, the NHS is leading from the front on innovative new treatments. This constructive fast-track negotiation also shows how responsible and flexible life sciences companies can succeed – in partnership with the NHS – to make revolutionary treatments available to patients.”

The approval comes just days after NICE announced in draft guidelines that Yescarta, another CAR-T that is licensed to treat patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B‑cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and primary mediastinal large B‑cell lymphoma (PMBCL), after two or more lines of systemic therapy, would not be made available on the NHS after it was deemed "too expensive".


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