2nd December 2016

NICE decision on pembrolizumab is ‘wonderful news for patients’

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is recommending that a new immunotherapy drug should be made available on the NHS to patients with a particular type of advanced lung cancer.

NICE has today (Friday 2 December) issued a Final Appraisal Determination (FAD) to the NHS approving pembrolizumab for people with PD-L1-positive non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have already received platinum-based chemotherapy.

Pembrolizumab is a type of immunotherapy which stimulates the body’s own immune system to fight cancer cells.

Paula Chadwick, Chief Executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, welcomed the announcement as a ‘breakthrough’ for patients and their families.

She said: “We are very pleased with this decision. Pembrolizumab is one of a new generation of immunotherapy drugs, and represents a fresh option for hundreds of patients who have this specific form of lung cancer.

“It is wonderful news, and we hope this paves the way for further positive decisions for lung cancer patients across the UK.

“This new type of therapy is an exciting development in the treatment of lung cancer. For many of our patients and their families this is a breakthrough moment – a recognition that these new medicines can truly benefit people with an advanced form of the disease”.

Martin Grange, Trustee of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation – and himself a lung cancer patient – also welcomed the announcement.

He said: “Lung cancer takes up only 6% of the research funding spent on the ‘big four’ cancers. That is despite lung cancer being the UK’s biggest cancer killer. Alongside many of our supporters, we have campaigned tirelessly to address this.

“Today’s announcement from NICE is a real milestone. We congratulate all those involved and hope it paves the way for many more decisions that will help to fight this dreadful disease”.

Lung cancer kills more people than any other form of cancer: more than 35,000 in the UK each year. Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is the only UK charity solely dedicated to beating it.