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Novartis' CAR-T therapy Kymriah gets NICE green light in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

Published on 01/02/19 at 10:47am

NICE has announced another momentous decision for lymphoma patients in England and Wales:, recommending Novartis’ chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapy Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) for the treatment of adults with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell forms of the condition (DLBCL) who have not responded or have relapsed after two courses of chemotherapy.

It is estimated that 200 patients will be eligible to access the treatment each year in England and Wales. Of the 11,690 new diagnoses of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in England in 2015, 4,688 were of the diffuse large B-cell variety.

The notoriously costly therapy, with a price tag of £282,000, was originally knocked back by the UK regulator because it could not be considered cost-effective, but it later secured recommendation in patients younger than 25 with relapsed or refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in November last year.    

“Recommending another revolutionary CAR T-cell therapy for adults with lymphoma represents a step forward for personalised medicine. We are pleased that patients are set to benefit from such an innovative therapy so rapidly because of joint working between NICE, NHS England and the company,” commented Meindert Boysen, Director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE. “CAR T-cell therapy is expensive, however the treatment is specific to each individual and could be a potential cure for some, although it is early days. Our recommendation for tisagenlecleucel on the Cancer Drugs Fund means people can benefit while more data is collected.”

Ropinder Gill, Lymphoma Action Chief Executive, also added: “We’re very pleased that this ground-breaking CAR T-cell therapy will now be available on the NHS for some people with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. This is really good news for people affected by this type of lymphoma who, until now, have faced limited treatment options.  The news offers patients and their families faced with a poor prognosis a more hopeful outlook.”

Matt Fellows

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