Nine hundred cancer patients every year could benefit from three new drugs which have been added to the Cancer Drugs Fund.
The drugs Albumin Bound Paclitaxel, Bevacizumab and Cabozantinib are to be used to treat pancreatic cancer, brain tumours in children and thryroid cancer respectively.
Albumin Bound Paclitaxel will be used to treat advanced pancreatic cancer in combination with the drug gemcitabine. Up to 800 patients a year may be eligible and may have their life expectancy increased by an average of around two months. The average cost for a 28 day cycle of treatment is £2,656.80 with an average of four cycles of treatment being given.
Bevacizumab will be used to treat low grade glioma in children to try and delay the need for radiotherapy until the patient is older and less likely to develop side effects to radiotherapy. Up to 75 patients per year may be eligible. The average cost for one 14 day cycle of treatment is £582.38 with a year of treatment being given.
Cabozantinib will be used to treat medullary thyroid cancer and may be used in up to 30 patients every year as an alternative, in certain patients, to another drug already approved by the CDF. It may extend their progression free survival – the length of time during and after the treatment that a patient lives with the disease but it does not get worse – by around seven months. This decision is pending the drug being licensed and price being confirmed.
The Chemotherapy CRG is working closely with clinicians and representatives of the pharmaceutical industry to ensure a rapid review process for new drugs that may be appropriate for inclusion on the Cancer Drugs Fund list. The review process looks at the available evidence regarding a drug’s efficacy, plus data relating to its safety.
Professor Peter Clark, Chair of the Chemotherapy CRG, said: “These new additions to the list demonstrate NHS England’s commitment to achieving maximum benefit to patients from the £200 million Cancer Drugs Fund. The process of updating the list is led by cancer specialists, and should ensure that patients benefit quickly when new drugs become available that are backed by good evidence from trial data.”
The Cancer Drugs Fund provides an additional £200m each year to enable patients with cancer in England to access drugs that are not routinely funded by their local NHS. The national Cancer Drugs Fund list is a single national list of approved fast-track drugs giving uniform access to treatment across the country. From 1 April, NHS England took on responsibility for the operational management of the Cancer Drugs Fund, creating for the first time a single national system for deciding which drugs are available and for which conditions.