New drug for blood cancer

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A haematologist from Leeds has welcomed a landmark decision by drug-approval body NICE that will finally mean patients will have access to a novel medicine for the treatment of bone marrow cancer

The city plays a vital role in the advancement of knowledge about multiple myeloma and potential treatments - with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and University leading research centres.

This week the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended the drug Ixazomib for use in combination with the current standard drugs lenalidomide and dexamethasone - Rd, in multiple myeloma patients who have received two or three prior lines of therapy

Multiple myeloma is the second most common type of blood cancer, with around 5,000 new cases and 2,700 deaths from multiple myeloma each year in the UK. The new drug combination could help around 1,700 in England alone who are currently battling the condition.

A number of trials have shown that patients treated with the three-drug combination may live longer without their disease worsening. Over the past 20 months several triplet regimens have been approved in Europe and these are rapidly becoming the new standard of care - but this is the first in the UK.

Consultant Haematologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Professor Gordon Cook, said: “This is great news for myeloma patients and physicians that care for them. Ixazomib is an effective and well-tolerated drug when used in combination with Rd. The IRd triplet combination should rapidly become the new standard of care in England at this stage of the disease.”

The myeloma clinic in Leeds sees around 90 patients each week for treatment, and roughly 150 to 200 new patients a year.

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