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MEDIA STATEMENT: Innovative immunotherapy drug approved for use in Scotland

Press release // 11th October 2017

Patients in Scotland will now be able to access the new myeloma treatment, daratumumab (Darzalex®) on the NHS, after the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) approved it for use.

This is the first time an innovative immunotherapy drug of this kind has been approved for use in myeloma in the UK. Immunotherapy drugs use a patient’s own immune system to attack myeloma cells with a view to killing them or stopping them from growing.

The SMC, Scotland’s drug approval body, agreed that daratumumab should be made available for use as a monotherapy (on its own, not in combination with other drugs) in patients who:

• Have had three previous lines of treatment, including two specific types of myeloma drug and
• Whose myeloma progressed on their last treatment.

“This is great news for myeloma patients in Scotland and their families. Daratumumab is an exciting and innovative new treatment which has been shown to have a very beneficial effect on length of remission in patients who respond.”

Myeloma UK Chief Executive, Rosemarie Finley

“Despite the welcome approval of new drugs in recent years, there is still an urgent need for new myeloma treatments; especially for relapsed patients who have exhausted other standard treatment options.

“Today’s approval gives myeloma patients whose cancer has come back an important new treatment option. Patients need and deserve access to the best possible myeloma treatments and for that to happen the NHS needs to keep championing and supporting innovation. We are therefore delighted by the SMC’s decision.”

“We were glad to play our part in enabling the SMC to reach its positive decision by ensuring that the patient and carer voice was heard in the process. We will keep working with the company and with drug approval bodies to gain access to this drug in other parts of the UK.”

Notes to Editors:

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