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NICE approves new multiple myeloma drug

Wednesday 14th February 2018
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has given its approval to a new drug for patients with multiple myeloma. Image: scanrail via iStock
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Ninlaro (ixazomib), a new drug intended for patients with the blood cancer multiple myeloma, has been approved for NHS use by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The healthcare body has ruled that Ninlaro - pharmaceutical manufacturer Takeda's name for ixazomib - should be made available to patients with multiple myeloma who have already undergone two or three other treatments.

When administered in combination with lenalidomide and dexamethasone, the drug is able to slow down the cancer's ability to digest proteins. As a result, cancerous cells are prevented from multiplying and growing.

Researchers believe that ixazomib could therefore help to reduce the damage inflicted on the bones and healthy blood cells throughout the body that can often be the case for multiple myeloma patients.

Indeed, trials have shown that Ninlaro is more effective at slowing down the progression of the condition than the standard treatments that are currently available. However, there is not yet any clear evidence to show whether the drug also has life extending properties.

Commenting on the news, chief executive of Myeloma UK Rosemarie Finley stated: "This is fantastic news for myeloma patients and their families, not just for immediately eligible patients, but for all patients.

"Multiple myeloma is an incurable cancer and patients know they face relapse at some point in the future, so it is hugely important for them to know that effective treatment options will be available when their myeloma returns."

Takeda has struck a deal with NHS England to make ixazomib available for multiple myeloma patients, with up to 1,600 individuals set to benefit from this in the near future.

Dion Warren, vice-president and head of the oncology business unit for Europe and Canada at Takeda, called the deal a "real win for the myeloma community".

NICE will continue to gather data on the treatment's efficacy until December 2019, at which time it will reassess its stance on the drug.

Written by James Puckle

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