- U-turn allows bone marrow cancer treatment.
- Three-drug combo extends life.
- Previously ineligible patients benefit.
Due to an NHS spending management U-turn, patients with bone marrow cancer will now access a life-extending treatment.
Multiple myeloma, a cancer affecting bone marrow’s spongy tissue, necessitates a combination of three medications.
High blood calcium levels cause brittle bones, impaired vision, vertigo, and intense thirst.
This incurable disease affects various body areas and about 6,000 people yearly in England.
Cancer Research UK reports only one-third surviving a decade.
Young patients often receive stem cell transplants, suppressing the malignancy temporarily.
Stem cells are vital for bodily functions, but the intensive procedure is risky for older, ill patients.
Around two-thirds of new patients can’t access transplants, limiting their options.
A November 2022 trial showed that three potent drugs—daratumumab, lenalidomide, and dexamethasone—controlled cancer in ineligible transplant patients for two additional years, likely extending their lives.
NICE initially rejected the combination as cost-ineffective but reversed its decision seven months later, providing funding for ineligible transplant patients.
Shelagh McKinlay, from Myeloma UK, said patients could now access a potentially life-extending treatment.