24 November 2022

Campaigners have welcomed the approval of a new drug in Scotland for patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).

Asciminib, also known as Scemblix, has a different method of action to the drugs currently used, so may be beneficial to patients whose cancer has not responded to two or more other tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs).

It was given approval by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence for use by the NHS in England earlier this year. Following evidence from the charity Leukaemia Care and other groups, patients in Scotland now have equal access to the drug.

CML is most often caused by a mutation called the Philadelphia chromosome, which leads to the production of a mutant protein BCR-ABL. Standard TKIs target a part of the BCR-ABL protein called the ATP binding site. But CML cells can acquire mutations which changes the BCR-ABL protein, rendering the cancer resistant to these TKIs.

However, asciminib binds to a different part of the target protein, called the myristoyl binding site, offering hope to patients who are resistant to existing TKIs.

In addition, asciminib may lead to less fatigue than the other TKIs.

“Leukaemia Care welcomes the approval of asciminib by the Scottish Medicines Consortium, providing an additional treatment option for chronic myeloid leukaemia patients," said Chief Executive of Leukaemia Care, Zack Pemberton-Whiteley.

“Having access to a treatment which works differently from other chronic myeloid leukaemia treatments is an exciting advancement and will be welcome news for many patients and their families.”

The charity is now pushing for access to asciminib earlier in a patient's treatment, before two other drugs are unsuccessful.

Source: Leukaemia Care


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