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Cancer patients' free treatment

4th September 2007

Some kidney cancer patients who were refused a drug by the NHS could be given free treatment through a clinical trial in Mancheste

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The drug Sutent is made by Oxford BioMedica and can extend the lifespan of patients with kidney cancer.

It was licensed for use in the UK in 2006. It has not yet been given approval by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), although some NHS trusts have provided funds for the treatment.

The company will fund Sutent at Christie Hospital in Manchester. Patients must allow themselves to be involved in a trial of the drug TroVax, in order to gauge how it performs with Sutent.

Patients will have to prove their eligibility for the trial and must not have received treatment for their cancer with another drug.

The study aims to ascertain whether TroVax, when administered in conjunction with Suvent, can help patients live for a greater length of time.

Sutent and TroVax do not offer a cure for kidney cancer, but can in some patients help to decelerate the rate of tumour growth.

Professor Bob Hawkins from Christie Hospital said they would like Suvent to be offered to every patient.

"We would still encourage patients to go into the trials of new treatments because that's the only way we're going to make progress on drugs like Sutent.

"We would say Sutent is probably the drug for most patients with kidney cancer. It isn't by any means perfect and we'd like to improve on it."




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