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NICE gives NHS approval to new kidney cancer drug

Wednesday 19th July 2017
Kidney cancer drug cabozantinib has been approved by NICE for use on the NHS. Image: CIPhotos via iStock
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A new drug has been approved for kidney cancer patients receiving their treatment via the NHS.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has ruled that cabozantinib should be made available to NHS patients in the future, after changing its mind on an earlier ruling in February 2017, when it stated the evidence relating to the drug it had been presented with seemed unreliable.

However, the NICE appraisal committee has now ruled that cabozantinib is indeed a viable and cost-effective treatment for patients who have been diagnosed with advanced renal cell carcinoma, a specific form of kidney cancer that begins in the lining of the tubes that help the body to produce urine, before spreading to the wider organ and sometimes also nearby lymph glands.

Cabozantinib is able to prevent the growth of new blood vessels in these tumours, subsequently halting their spread and helping to bring the condition under control.

Figures suggest that there are more than 9,000 people living with kidney cancer in England, with this figure rising by six per cent between 2007 and 2015. Of these, it is believed that around 1,000 will be eligible for treatment with cabozantinib to begin with.

If the number of new cases of kidney cancer continue to rise, it is thought that 10,000 patients could be living with the disease by the end of this year, with more potentially eligible for treatment with the newly-approved drug. Overall, it is the seventh most common type of cancer in the UK.

Professor Carole Longson, director of the centre for health technology evaluation at NICE, commented: "There are limited treatment options available for people who have advanced kidney cancer, so I am very pleased that the new evidence submitted means we can recommend cabozantinib."

Speaking to BBC News, a Kidney Research UK spokesman added that the approval of the drug offers "patients with renal cell carcinoma an increased chance of improved progression-free survival, compared to the standard therapy".

Written by James Puckle

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