New drug that could save young leukaemia patients’ lives approved for NHS use in Scotland

New acute lymphoblastic lymphoma treatment offered to children by NHS in Scotland

14th February 2019

A potentially life-saving new treatment for children with a rare form of leukaemia is being made available on the NHS [in Scotland] – but a drug for adults with blood cancer has been rejected.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has approved the use of Kymriah  – which is also known as tisagenlecleucel – for children and young people suffering from acute lymphoblastic lymphoma.

The SMC, which rules on the drugs that can be used on the NHS [in Scotland], said it “offers the possibility of long-term remission and is potentially a life-saving treatment option”.

Yescarta, which was approved for use by the NHS in England last year, was rejected over “uncertainty in the company’s evidence around its long-term benefits and its cost-effectiveness”.

Both treatments are a form of CAR-T therapy, in which patients’ own immune cells are modified n a laboratory to recognise, seek out and kill cancer cells.

SMC chairman Dr Alan MacDonald said: “Acute lymphoblastic lymphoma is a very rare form of leukaemia which can progress quickly and there are currently very few treatment options for those whose condition has relapsed or not responded.

“Tisagenlecleucel offers an innovative and potentially lifesaving treatment for children and young adults with this condition, and we hope our decision will benefit them, their families and carers.”

Credit: Express & Star website