The NHS in Wales has granted approval of a novel monoclonal antibody treatment for a subgroup of patients diagnosed with lymphoma. Adcetris (Brentuximab vedotin) will soon be available to those with relapsed or refractory CD30+ Hodgkin lymphoma who have undergone an autologous stem cell transplant or have received at least two previous treatments when both transplant or chemotherapy are not recommended. The approval follows the decision of the All Wales Medicine Strategy Group (AWMSG) after it surveyed patients and medical experts during a Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
“There was a consensus among the leading medical experts we consulted that brentuximab represents a real step change for patients, who otherwise would have very few treatment options,” Chris West, Head of Media and Public Affairs at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, said in a news release. “Patients using the drug have also had very positive experiences. This decision by the AWMSG is welcome news and we’re hugely grateful to the patients and doctors who provided their views during the consultation process!, he added.
Three months from now, Adcetris will be available to Hodgkin lymphoma patients throughout Wales. This update also comes after a corresponding ruling from the Scottish Medicines Consortium in 2014, after a similar Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research patient and expert survey.
Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that primarily affects the immune system. While there are two types of cancers that affect the lymphatic system, Hodgkin’s disease is far more uncommon that non-Hodgkin’s. Here, the cells in the lymphatic system proliferate abnormally and spread, gradually compromising the body’s ability to fend off infections. Current available options for patients diagnosed with this type of cancer include chemotherapy, radiation, and stem cell transplants.
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In an earlier study, a collaborative team of international researchers led by Dr. Thai H. Ho, MD., PhD, associate professor of medicine and nutrition at the Mayo Clinic has made an important discovery that may significantly improve the treatment efficacy of therapies used to stop the progression of late-stage cancers, including lymphoma. Their study, entitled, “High-resolution profiling of histone h3 lysine 36 trimethylation in metastatic renal cell carcinoma,” which was published in the latest edition of Nature’s Oncogene, discovered a new genetic biomarker which could help healthcare providers identify more aggressive cancers or find the best drug for the individual patient in an effort to personalize medical care.