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Gilead's CAR-T therapy Yescarta rejected for NHS use in Scotland

Published on 12/02/19 at 12:33pm

It’s bad news for Scottish patients living with aggressive forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) as it emerges that the Scottish Medicines Consortium has chosen to reject Gilead’s CAR-T therapy Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel).

The decision means that patients who may have exhausted all other avenues of treatment will not be able to receive the treatment on the NHS in Scotland, with many not expected to survive longer than six months in these cases. It comes as a stark contrast to the decision taken by NICE in December to approve the therapy for use on the NHS in England and Wales.

Yescarta, developed by Gilead-owned Kite Pharma, is a personalised therapy harnessing the patient’s own modified immune cells. If approved, it could provide patients with treatment for aggressive blood cancers such as relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-Cell lymphoma and primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma, after two or more lines of systemic therapy.

“Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) is a pioneering personalised cell therapy that provides a potential lifeline to adult patients with certain aggressive forms of blood cancer who, in most cases, have run out of treatment options and may only have months to live,” commented Hilary Hutton-Squire, General Manager, Gilead Sciences UK & Ireland. “As they did for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) for children, we hope that SMC will maintain their efforts to give access to CAR-T therapies in Scotland for adult patients with Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL). Gilead remains truly committed to working with the SMC to make Yescarta available to eligible patients in Scotland as we have for patients in England and Wales.”

Matt Fellows

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