GAME-changing drugs to treat a wide range of cancers are being fast-tracked by the NHS.
The therapies, which target genetic flaws that cause tumours, could be available within a year.
2 Game-changing new cancer drugs could be available to NHS patients this year, after NHS chief Simon Stevens said they would be fast-trackedCredit: Getty – Contributor
Initially, they will help hundreds of people with rarer forms of the disease but could be effective against common types.
NHS boss Simon Stevens will today tell a conference that plans are in place to ensure they are available to thousands of patients as soon as possible.
He will tell NHS leaders at Confed19: “The benefits for patients, in particular children, of being able to treat many different types of cancers with one drug is potentially huge.”
Until now, cancer treatments have been based on where the disease has originated in the body, such as the breast.
The latest — known as tumour agnostic drugs — are effective against many cancers driven by the same genetic fault.
‘FAIR AND AFFORDABLE PRICES’
The first of the new drugs is set to come on to the market within months, with one already approved for use in the US.
Early clinical trials showed they shrank tumours in up to three quarters of cases.
The drugs target a chemical produced by the body — the NTRK enzyme — that drives rare types of the disease, such as salivary tumours.
But the enzyme’s effect is also seen to a lesser degree in more common cancers, such as those of the bowel and lung.
Roche, which makes one of the new drugs, Entrectinib, said it hoped it would be available on the NHS by next year.
2 NHS boss Simon Stevens will tell a conference that plans are in place to ensure the drugs are available as soon as possibleCredit: PA:Press Association
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NHS officials will meet next week to decide how to bring the drugs, which cost thousands of pounds a month, into use.
First, they will have to work out how to carry out genetic testing on all patients.
Mr Stevens also warned makers they will need “to set fair and affordable prices”.
Video explaining the different types of bone cancer, symptoms and treatments