The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has today (7th October) announced that the CAR T-cell therapy axicabtagene ciloleucel (Yescarta®) will be available on the NHS in Scotland for adults with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) or primary mediastinal large B cell lymphoma (PMBL) that has not responded (refractory) or has come back (relapsed) after at least two previous courses of treatment.
We are delighted at this news, which reverses the SMC’s earlier decision not to approve the therapy for use on the NHS in Scotland. Lymphoma Action was among several organisations who responded to the SMC, advocating for axicabtagene ciloleucel to be available on the NHS throughout the UK. The SMC’s reconsideration takes account of a Patient Access Scheme that improves the cost-effectiveness of axicabtagene ciloleucel.
Although today’s decision is excellent news, there are still many challenges limiting access to CAR T-cell therapy. In the UK, CAR T-cell therapy is currently only available at a handful of approved treatment centres with the facilities and staff to administer it safely. At present, there is not enough capacity to treat everybody who is eligible and treatment must prioritised on a case-by-case basis.
Lymphoma Action is collaborating with treatment centres, research groups and other patient organisations to try to improve access to CAR T-cell therapy in the UK.
A very limited number of people may be able to access CAR T-cell therapy through a clinical trial. To find out more about clinical trials for lymphoma, or to search for a trial that might be suitable for you, visit Lymphoma TrialsLink.
7 October 2019