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NHS England appoves Gilead's CAR T therapy Yescarta

Published on 05/10/18 at 11:31am

Gilead’s CAR T therapy Yescarta is set to be made available on the NHS in England for adults with aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma, it was announced today.

Although NICE rejected the £300,000 per patient treatment in August of this year, NHS England has come to a confidential agreement with Yescarta manufacturer Gilead Sciences.

Thus an estimated 200 patients a year could benefit from the personalised treatment according to NHS England.

 The American pharma company’s CAR T therapy has proven efficacious in clinical trials with 8 in 10 people in a trial of 111 people responding to Yescarta, half of whom were cancer free six months after treatment.

However the drug also induced serious side effects in half of the patients studied.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, commented: “CAR T-cell therapy is one of the most promising new treatments in a generation for lymphoma and leukaemia, and NHS patients will now be among the first in the world to benefit.

The NHS has world-leading clinicians, researchers and scientists, and today’s announcement is proof positive that we are open to constructive and flexible partnerships with industry that rapidly bring life sciences innovation to NHS patients in a way that is also fair to British taxpayers.”

The decision has come after Novartis’ Kymriah was approved in September of this year.

Rose Gray, Cancer Research UK’s Policy Manager commented: “It’s great that NHS England, NICE and the company have worked together to make this complex and highly personalised treatment available so quickly, through the Cancer Drugs Fund. This will mean patients can get this treatment quickly, while more information is gathered on its long-term effectiveness.”

Louis Goss

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