A new “potentially curative” treatment for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma has been approved for use on the NHS, it was announced last week.
NHS England said it was fast-tracking approval for glofitamab after getting support from its regulatory advisers.
The drug has already been available through an early access programme, and NHS England said dozens of patients have already gained benefit from it.
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma affects about 5,500 people a year, mainly men over the age of 65.
The new treatment is delivered as an intravenous infusion, meaning it will be available at more NHS hospitals than CAR-T therapies.
NHS England Cancer Drug’s Fund Lead Professor Peter Clark said: “The approval of this drug is great news for people living with an advanced and aggressive form of blood cancer, who are set to benefit from this new treatment.
“Not only does it provide a potentially life-saving option for patients who may have not responded to CAR T therapy, it is also an alternative for some CAR T eligible patients who choose instead to have glofitamab closer to home.”
Consultant haematologist Dr Wendy Osborne, from the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, said: “The NHS rollout of bispecific antibodies like glofitamab, is set to be a breakthrough for patients with lymphoma and has already proven to be life-changing […].
“Bispecific antibodies use the patient’s own white blood cells to attack and kill the lymphoma, a form of blood cancer. The antibody has two arms. One arm attaches to the cancer cell and the other to the patient’s own white blood cell, a T-cell. By bringing these cells together, the patient’s own immune system is activated and kills the cancer cell and so chemotherapy is not required.
“Patients don’t have the side effects of chemotherapy and often feel well on this outpatient-based treatment.”
Source: NHS England
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