Chemo-free leukaemia treatment given green light by NHS
The new chemo free leukaemia treatment is set to be made available through the NHS
The pill known as acalabrutinib is manufactured by AstraZeneca - who are currently supplying millions of Covid-19 vaccines - and has just been approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
The drug will be provided through the NHS and used for patients with untreated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). Thousands will now be able to access chemo-free treatment from the comfort of their own home.
This is a huge benefit as it will avoid people having to visit the hospital amidst the ongoing pandemic. Beyond that, being able to treat any kind of cancer patient without chemotherapy is a huge positive for healthcare.
NICE has said that not only does the drug have “fewer side effects than existing NHS treatments” but that a deal has been struck to get the drug at a discount. It has been estimated that at least 2,395 patients will be provided access to the treatment.
The drug usually costs £169 per day, with a 30-day pack costing around £5,059 direct from suppliers, Calquence. However, with this latest approval, those suffering from CLL will be able to receive the twice-a-day pill through the NHS.
CLL is the most common form of leukaemia: a type of cancer that attacks the blood cells. CLL, specifically, causes significant pain and an increased risk of infection. It is not yet known when the drug will begin circulating.
Head of research for Blood Cancer UK, Dr Fatima Sulaiman, stated that "acalabrutinib slows progression more than the standard treatment and will also improve quality of life.” Another huge step forward in the fight against cancer.