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NICE greenlights Celgene pancreatic cancer drug as first-line combination treatment

Published on 04/08/17 at 10:22am

Celgene is celebrating following NICE’s announcement that it had decided to recommend the use of nab-Paclitaxel, when used in combination with gemcitabine, as a first-line treatment for metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (mPDAC), or metastatic pancreatic cancer. This treatment option will now be made available for patients on the NHS in England and Wales.   

The decision was based upon Phase 3 trial results which showed that nab-Paclitaxel, when administered together with gemcitabine as opposed to gemcitabine alone, improved median survival rates of the disease by 1.8 months, to 8.5 months compared to 6.7 months.

Metastatic pancreatic cancer still presents an area of unmet medical need – around 80% of cases are diagnosed only when the disease has progressed to late stage in England and Scotland, making it very difficult to treat. Just 1% of those diagnosed in the 1970s survived the disease beyond a decade, and 40 years later, this has shown little to no improvement.

“Today’s recommendation is welcomed by the clinical community as well as families affected by metastatic pancreatic cancer,” remarked Dr Stephen Falk, Consultant Clinical Oncologist, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Trust and Chair of the NCRI Pancreatic Cancer Subgroup. “This is a disease that has seen few therapeutic advances in recent years and life expectancy remains extremely poor. It is very reassuring that NICE has decided to recommend nab-Paclitaxel in combination with gemcitabine for the treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer, and I also welcome the potential of extra survival this regimen may offer to the right patient compared to gemcitabine alone.”

Remo Gujer, General Manager at Celgene UK & Ireland also said of the approval: “We are pleased to have been able to work with NICE throughout this process to help ensure that this treatment combination becomes accessible via the NHS to eligible patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer across England. This is an important milestone in our journey in the fight against pancreatic cancer and we will continue our research in this area of considerable unmet need”.

Matt Fellows

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