Location: Yorkshire and Humber
Location: South Central
Location: Beds and Herts
Speciality: Microbiology Biomedical Scientist
Location: East Of England
A new drug designed to help the body attack cancerous cells has been so successful in trials that the NHS has now agreed to fund it.
CAR-T therapy, which is being provided by pharma company Novartis, has been hailed by scientists as one of the biggest breakthroughs in the fight against cancer in decades, making a highly personalised approach to treatment possible.
Consisting of a drug called Tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah), it is set to be used on patients aged up to 25 suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), who have not responded to other drugs.
England will be the first country in Europe to fund the new drug, with NHS head Simon Stevens revealing that the first patients to receive it will be children with leukaemia who have been given a terminal diagnosis. Around 30 children a year are expected to be given the drug in England.
The treatment works by taking a patient's own white blood cells, re-engineering them to fight cancer cells, and then injecting them back into the patient, where they will multiply. Tests have shown nine out of ten patients who had been given no chance of survival went into remission.
Mr Stevens said: "Today’s approval is proof-positive that, in our 70th year, the NHS is leading from the front on innovative new treatments. This constructive fast-track negotiation also shows how responsible and flexible life sciences companies can succeed - in partnership with the NHS - to make revolutionary treatments available to patients."
The deal between the NHS and Novartis comes just ten days after the drug was licensed for use in Europe.
Discussing the importance of the drug in tackling ALL, Cancer Research UK-funded immunotherapy expert Professor Karl Peggs noted that standard treatment cures most sufferers, but there is "a minority who do not respond to these therapies and have limited options available" who are set to benefit from the new treatment.
Written by Martin Lambert
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