Two new “breakthrough” drugs have been approved by Health officials for NHS use in the UK, offering hope to thousands of women suffering from breast cancer.
Palbociclib and ribociclib have been shown to slow down advanced cancer for at least 10 months and delay the need for chemotherapy.
This will give women battling the disease the opportunity to live a normal life for longer.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive at the charity Breast Cancer Now, said: “This is a life-changing and long-awaited step forward in treatment for many patients with metastatic breast cancer, potentially offering thousands of women the closest thing they would have to a cure in their lifetime.
“Palbociclib and ribociclib represent an exciting new generation of medicines capable of slowing the spread of incurable breast cancer.
“Their introduction to NHS care in England is fantastic news for patients and their doctors.
“Around 8,000 women each year can now be given significant extra time before their condition progresses – time that will be truly invaluable to them and their loved ones.”
Both drugs are given once daily and need to be used in combination with an aromatase inhibitor.
The inhibitors work by blocking the production of the hormone oestrogen, stopping its ability to fuel some breast cancers.
Palbociclib and ribociclib slow progression of cancer by inhibiting two proteins called CDK 4 and 6.
The drugs are a new type of cancer treatment and their development has been described as one of the “most important breakthroughs” in 20 years.
Professor Carole Longson, of Nice, said: “Delaying progression of their cancer for as long as possible and being able to continue with normal activities, including working, is valued very highly by patients and their families.
“We are pleased therefore that the companies have been able to agree reductions to the price of palbociclib and ribociclib to allow them to be made routinely available to people with this type of breast cancer.”
In new draft guidance, Nice said that women with oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer who were diagnosed after the disease had spread will be eligible for Pfizer drug palbociclib.
Women who meet these criteria and have undergone the menopause will be eligible for ribociclib, created by Novartis.
The standard price for one cycle of palbociclib is £2,950 for a pack of 21 capsules and the list price for one cycle of ribociclib is also £2,950 but this is for 63 tablets. (Mirror)