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Ixazomib approved for use on the NHS in England and Wales

Myeloma patients in England and Wales will now be able to access the new myeloma treatment, ixazomib (Ninlaro ®) on the NHS, after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) approved it for use, through the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).

Press release // 19th December 2017

Ixazomib, a new proteasome inhibitor, is the first oral drug of its kind.

The NICE decision means that ixazomib is now recommended for use in combination with lenalidomide (Revlimid®) and dexamethasone for myeloma patients who have received two or three prior treatments.

This is the first time that a “triplet” combination including two novel treatments has been approved for use in myeloma in the UK.

“This is a landmark day for myeloma patients and their families. Ixazomib is a much-needed effective treatment option for patients whose myeloma has come back.”

Myeloma UK Chief Executive, Rosemarie Finley

“As the first oral treatment of its kind it will be hugely beneficial for so many patients: from frail elderly people who find it difficult to travel for hospital appointments, to younger patients who have work and family commitments.

“It is also though, as the first “triplet” combination to be approved for use in myeloma in the UK, a significant step forward in the myeloma treatment landscape.

“Myeloma UK has worked long and hard to help deliver access for patients to novel “triplet” treatments, which are becoming the international standard of care in myeloma. It has been a source of concern that, up until now, patients in the UK have been unable to access them.

“We commend Takeda, NICE and NHS England for their efforts to explore every option for approval and thank all those patients who shared their experiences with us so that decision makers could understand what this treatment will mean to patients and their families.”

John Ellwood is a former headteacher and myeloma patient who received ixazomib, lenalidomide and dexamethasone for 8 months in 2016. The treatment put his myeloma into remission so that he was fit enough to have a donor stem cell transplant. John remains in remission.

“For me, ixazomib was a gift of time. When faced with a diagnosis for cancer, most patients will say that their most valuable resource is time, because the prospect of having fewer years to live makes the remaining time suddenly more precious.

“Ixazomib is a gift of time in two ways. Firstly, it can extend life expectancy; but, perhaps more importantly, as an oral treatment, it means patients need not spend two days a week travelling to hospital and receiving their medication; instead, ixazomib is self-administered at home, with minimal side effects, so those two days are returned to the patient to use as they want. This is a huge morale booster for patient and carer alike.”

The ixazomib, lenalidomide and dexamethasone combination will be available via the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) from 19 December 2017.

Notes to Editors:

More about the decision

“Triplet” combinations combining two different types of novel drugs (known as proteasome inhibitors (ixazomib) and immunomodulatory drugs (lenalidomide) are becoming the international standard of care in myeloma treatment. Up until now, no novel triplet combination had been available on the NHS to myeloma patients in the UK.

The final appraisal determination from NICE can be found here.

About Myeloma UK

Myeloma UK is the only organisation in the UK dealing exclusively with myeloma – our ultimate goal is to find a cure.

We are dedicated to ensuring that patients get access to the right treatment at the right time, and to improving standards of treatment and care through research, education and awareness raising.

Our organisation also provides a range of information and support services to patients, family and friends to help deal with a diagnosis of myeloma.

Myeloma UK receives no Government funding and relies almost entirely on voluntary donations and fundraising.

To find out more visit: www.myeloma.org.uk, or follow us on Twitter: /MyelomaUK and Facebook: /MyelomaUK.

About myeloma

Myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer. It originates in the bone marrow and currently affects around 17,500 people in the UK.

Whilst treatable, myeloma is not yet curable.

Treatment aims to control the myeloma, relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. It generally leads to periods of remission but patients inevitably relapse requiring further treatment.

This is why it is vital that we invest in research, and support access to the best treatment and care for myeloma patients.

Key facts

Every year 5,500 new cases of myeloma are diagnosed in the UK – that’s 15 cases every day
Myeloma is a complex cancer with non-specific symptoms which can make it difficult to diagnose
In the last 10 years, with improvements in treatment and care, survival rates are increasing faster than most other cancers
Despite this, myeloma has one of the highest rates of delay in diagnosis and one of the worst survival rates among all cancers.