NHS is preparing to fast-track the introduction of ‘game-changing’ new cancer drugs, announced NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens.
The drugs target tumours according to their genetic make-up rather than where they originate in the body. The treatment, known as ‘tumour agnostic’ drugs could be a hope for patients with rare forms of cancer.
This follows last year’s landmark commercial deal to bring the genetically modified Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR-T) cancer therapy to UK patients.
“Preparations are underway to make sure the NHS can adopt these next generation of treatments, but manufacturers need to set fair and affordable prices so treatments can be made available to those who need them,” Stevens said during the Confed19 event on Wednesday.
The first of the new cancer drugs is set to come on to the market within months. Around 850 patients a year could benefit from the pioneering therapies while many thousands a year eventually expected to benefit from other tumour agnostic treatments.
Jane Lysons, a 52-year-old cancer patient called this an exciting development for people with rare and less common cancers.
“We believe the NHS Long Term Plan will improve the treatment care for people with rare and less common cancers, specifically the early diagnosis target of three in four of all cancers diagnosed early by 2028,” Lyons said.
If approved by NICE, tumour agnostic drugs could benefit many children and young people with cancer, patients with rare cancer types, and their families.