25 July 2017

NICE Approves More Tolerable Treatment for Blood Cancer

Around 2,200 patients a year with multiple myeloma are to benefit from a new, tolerable treatment on the NHS following approval by NICE.

Carflizomib does not cause serious side effects, such as chronic pain from damaged tissue, to the same extent as current treatments, the independent committee at NICE found.

The drug, also called Kyprolis and manufactured by Amgen, treats patients with multiple myeloma whose cancer has come back after one round of treatment. Previous treatment must not include a drug called bortezomib.

Professor Carole Longson, director of the centre for health technology evaluation at NICE, said: “Our independent committee recognised that carfilzomib provides benefits for this group of patients over current treatments, including improving quality of life, and so were able to recommend the drug for routine use in the NHS.”

Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that affects the bone marrow.

Carfilzomib, given in combination with dexamethasone, can kill blood cancer cells by causing excess protein to build-up inside them.

Kate Morgan, policy and public affairs manager at the charity Myeloma UK, said: “As carfilzomib and dexamethasone hasbeen shown to be effective in prolonging survival in relapsed myeloma patients, with limited negative impact on quality of life, it is very important for patients to have access to it on the NHS.”

Tony Patrikios, executive medical director at Amgen UK and Ireland, said they see carfilzomib as “backbone therapy for the management of relapsed multiple myeloma.”

“We know that time free of disease is precious and are committed to advancing care for people with this difficult-to-treat blood cancer,” he added.

Carflizomib has been available to patients since NICE issued positive draft guidance in June 2017.

Under the new Cancer Drugs Fund arrangements, certain cancer treatments that receive a draft positive NICE recommendation are immediately eligible for funding as agreed by NHS England and the company. This lasts until NHS funding  for routine commissioning starts.