Approval for cancer drug28th September 2006
The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has announced that all NHS patients in England and Wales with late stage follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) will be entitled to free treatment with MabThera (Rituximab).
MabThera has been offered freely to follicular NHL patients in Scotland since 2004, leading to concern over the 'postcode' lottery of care for patients with the disease.
MabThera is a genetically engineered monoclonal antibody which 'labels' cells to be destroyed by the body's immune system. It is not a cure, but trials have shown it can significantly extend periods of symptom-free remission for patients with follicular NHL.
NICE has recommended the use of MabThera as a "first line" treatment for stage three and four follicular NHL in England and Wales. It has previously been used only after the failure of other treatments.
Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL's), of which follicular lymphoma is the most common type, are a group of tumours that affect the lymphatic system, part of the body's defence against infection. Follicular lymphoma affects the B cells, a type of white blood cell involved in fighting infections.
An estimated 60,000 people in Britain currently live with NHL and 9,200 new cases are diagnosed each year.
Dr Gillian Leng, of NICE, said that the approval of MabThera for first-line treatment "improves the options available to people with this form of cancer and sets clear standards for the NHS in England and Wales on how it should be used."
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Friday 29th September 2006 @ 20:49
It was welcome albeit long overdue news that Mabthera is now available to patients in England as a "first line" treatment for people with fNHL.
I would like to request a copy of the "clear standards for the NHS in England and Wales on how it should be used"
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Title: Approval for cancer drug
Author: Sue Knights
Article Id: 827
Date Added: 28th Sep 2006