A prostate cancer the drug that can extend survival by years will be accelerated by the NHS.
About 9,000 men with advanced disease he will be eligible for darolutamide when the health service in England becomes the first in Europe to offer the drug.
The deal has been made possible by an international partnership established in the aftermath of Brexit to speed up access to new medicines.
Under the sweeping deal, darolutamide will be made available free of charge to the NHS while medicines authorities complete their assessment.
Studies have found that the drug gives men with advanced disease an average of two more years, reducing mortality by a third.
The drug was also found to improve quality of life in patients who have received no other treatment.
It works by blocking androgen receptors on cancer cells, blocking the effect of testosterone that allows cancer cells to survive and grow.
Darolutamide, also known by its trade name Nubeqa®, is now available on the NHS for some patients with localized prostate cancer.
The offer is now being extended to cover those whose cancer has spread after England’s NHS struck another early access deal after the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the drug.
‘Latest generation drugs’
Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, said: “It’s great that patients in England are the first in Europe to receive this treatment for truly advanced disease and aggressive form of prostate cancer thanks to the NHS speeding up a new drug deal.
“The NHS continues to lead the way in securing the best possible treatments for patients – this is the latest in a long line of cutting-edge medicines we have secured to help people live longer with cancer, making life huge. changing the difference for patients and their families across the country.”
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and about 47,000 men are diagnosed each year.
Nearly 9,000 people have this aggressive form of metastatic prostate cancer.
Darolutamide is usually taken as a tablet with food and in combination with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and docetaxel chemotherapy.
A trial at nearly 300 sites, including NHS hospitals, found that patients receiving the combination treatment were 32.5 percent less likely to die than ADT and docetaxel alone.
On average, survival was two years longer, the ARASENS trial found.
After completing chemotherapy with docetaxel, men will continue their original hormone therapy along with darolutamide to keep testosterone levels low and help the treatment work.
‘A push to improve cancer outcomes’
The deal comes after the UK medicines regulator, the MHRA, approved the treatment through Project Orbis, which is an international partnership between medicines regulators from the UK, US, Australia and others. , created to speed up the approval process for promising cancer treatments. .
Professor Peter Johnson, the NHS’s national cancer director, said: “We know that prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among men and it is vital that the NHS continue to diagnose patients as soon as possible and expand our arsenal of state-of-the-art treatments. to increase people’s chances of survival.
“This innovative treatment builds on the NHS ambition to improve cancer care and survival rates and will help thousands of men diagnosed with prostate cancer live a better quality life, decreasing their probability of dying by one third”.
Freshly approved by the MHRA, the NHS will begin offering the new drug to eligible prostate cancer patients within weeks, following the latest early access deal reached by England’s NHS and the drug’s manufacturer, Bayer, and backed by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE).
NICE is currently evaluating whether to recommend the drug be routinely prescribed, with manufacturers providing the drugs free of charge, while the evaluation is complete.
Antonio Payano, chief executive of Bayer UK & Ireland, said: “We are delighted that faster access to darolutamide has become possible for men with prostate cancer in England. By working closely with the MHRA and the NHS in England, we have been able to make this therapy available in advance of a NICE recommendation so more patients can benefit.
“The collaboration has been built on a shared recognition of the value that this new treatment option can provide as part of a drive to improve cancer outcomes.”
This is the fifth cancer drug to have been made available by the NHS in England through a national early access deal following a Project Orbis license and follows similar NHS deals for mobocertinib, osimertinib, atezolizumab and the breakthrough therapy sotorasib that targets the so-called “death star” mutation.