24th Jan, 2018

Revolutionary cancer drug made available by NHS

Aisling Kiely 27th Jun, 2016 Updated: 21st Oct, 2016

THE FUTURE is looking brighter for courageous cancer patients after a revolutionary immunotherapy drug to fight the disease and slow down the rapid progress of advanced skin cancer has been made available on the NHS.

The potentially life-saving drug – designed to boost the immune system and stun the growth of cancer cells – has given skin cancer patients in Solihull and across the UK new hope.

The combination drug has proven to be more powerful than previous cancer treatment as the two immunotherapies – nivolumab and ipilimumab – work together to attack, destroy and ultimately stop the cancer cells from multiplying.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) fast-tracked the drug after discovering its life-extending benefits and has made it available to patients in England and Wales on the NHS.

A promising total of 69 per cent of patients given the drugs survived for a further two years – and in some cases the treatment eradicated the tumours completely.

The cutting-edge research is a giant leap in the treatment of skin cancer has been welcomed with open arms by Penny Birch, mother of borough cancer victim Hayley Birch who lost her brave battle with skin cancer in 2009.

She told the paper: “I welcome any drug that can help this disease and prolong life to stop people from suffering like my daughter Hayley.

“It’s such a comfort to know the fundraising we do helps the research and development of this kind of new treatment.”

Cancer Research UK clinician, Professor Peter said the decision to make the drugs available on the NHS gave new hope to melanoma patients.

He added: “Around 150 people are diagnosed with malignant melanoma in Birmingham every year.”

“The combination of two antibodies releases the footbrake and the handbrake on the immune system, so it can fight the cancer more powerfully.”

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