‘Life-changing’ cancer drug to help patients live longer gets NHS approval | UK News

The NHS has approved a “life-changing” drug that could help treat men with prostate or breast cancer.

Olaparib will be given through NHS England to men with advanced prostate cancer and women with HER2-negative early-stage breast cancer who are at risk of recurrence.

As a pill, olaparib targets a class of drugs called Parp inhibitors that prevent cancer cells from repairing.

It targets cancers with BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 mutations, preventing cancer cells from repairing their DNA, which leads to cancer cell death.

The decision to bring it into the NHS was overwhelmingly popular, winning praise from cancer charities and scientists.

According to NHS England, clinical trials produced by pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca showed that olaparib, also known as Lynparza, could extend the lives of men with advanced prostate cancer by “an average of six months”.

Targeted therapy has also been shown to reduce the risk of recurrence of BRCA-mutated, HER2-negative early-stage breast cancer by nearly a third over four years.

It is estimated that around 500 men with advanced prostate cancer and around 300 women with HER2-negative early breast cancer in England will be eligible for the new drug each year.

Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, said: “Olaparib could have a huge impact on patients with a range of cancer types, giving many a better chance of survival, Patients with advanced disease provide valuable additional months of life.”

“Milestone Moments”

Meanwhile, experts at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) described the move as “life-changing”, adding that the treatment would give patients the chance to live longer and healthier lives.

Johann De Bono, Professor of Experimental Cancer Medicine at ICR, said: “Olaparib is an important example of how understanding of a patient’s underlying genetics and their tumor genomics can be used to design highly targeted precision medicines.

“These recommendations will be life-changing for men with advanced prostate cancer and BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.”

Prostate Cancer UK described the decision as a “landmark moment” for prostate cancer treatment.

Chiara De Biase, Director of Support and Impact at Prostate Cancer UK, added: “This is the first targeted therapy of its kind to be approved for the disease and it finally moves us away from the old ‘one size fits all’ approach to prostate cancer treatment. .

“We are proud of our role in the development of this exciting medicine that could extend the lives of hundreds of men every year.”

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Breast Cancer Now said it had been a “painful” wait to decide whether the drug would be approved for use following a provisional rejection in November last year.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, CEO of Breast Cancer Now, said: “Some people with high-risk, HER2-negative primary breast cancer and the BRCA gene – often referred to as the ‘Jolie gene’ – may lose weight after treatment. See the cancer come back.

“Crucially, olaparib can reduce the risk that people’s cancer will recur or progress to an incurable secondary form of breast cancer, and prevent people from dying from this devastating disease.”

Health Secretary Helen Whately added: “We are committed to delivering world-class cancer care for patients and are always working in partnership with clinicians to find new, cutting-edge treatments.

“Reducing waiting lists is one of the Prime Minister’s five priorities and we are making progress with new one-stop shops offering a range of checks, tests and scans closer to home, meaning patients are receiving them as quickly as possible. needed cancer treatment”

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