The NHS has just released some exciting news, announcing the approval of the first mesothelioma cancer treatment in more than ten years.
Patients with lung mesothelioma cancer will have access to this new medication, which combines nivolumab and ipilimumab, right now. The medicine was authorized by NICE after a strict process, and a business agreement was made with the NHS.
The respiratory system is impacted by the malignant pleural mesothelioma malignancy that affects the cells around the lungs. The majority of cases come from exposure to asbestos-containing materials, with the first symptoms developing years later.
The UK has the most cases in the globe.
Malignant pleural mesothelioma cancer is diagnosed in 2,700 people in the UK every year, with most patients exposed to asbestos. The majority of cases are men over the age of 60, but this cancer has recently been identified in women and young people.Symptoms develop over time and include chest pain, fatigue, and a persistent cough.
Asbestos is a group of minerals made of microscopic fibers used widely in construction, and when the fibers gain access to the lungs, they cause irreversible damage. This material was banned in 1999, meaning there is a much lower risk of developing this type of cancer. Asbestos can still be found in many older buildings.
first new treatment for mesothelioma in years
This drug combination is the first immunotherapy treatment for untreated mesothelioma cancer in many years. The research found it to be a more effective alternative to chemotherapy. The data from clinical trials confirmed that 8% more people survived with mesothelioma after three years, and 13% more showed their cancer had stopped progressing in the same period.
The results from the clinical trials provide new hope for mesothelioma cancer patients. This cancer progresses quickly and has a poor prognosis, with only 8–10% of patients surviving after three years.
The medications are delivered every week for nivolumab and every six weeks for ipilimumab for up to two years.
Professor Peter Johnson, National Clinical Director for Cancer for the NHS in England, said: “The NHS is delighted that this new drug combination will now be available for patients with this aggressive type of cancer, giving them more precious time with their families and friends.”
“We know that, unfortunately, many people are likely to develop mesothelioma as the result of previous asbestos exposure, but up until now, we have had limited options for their treatment. “This makes these new immunotherapy drugs even more vital and reinforces our commitment to using the latest treatments to improve the life chances of our patients.”