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NICE recommends cutting-edge lymphoma treatment for NHS use

Published on 19/01/21 at 11:15am

NHS clinicians in England will be able to consider a cutting-edge cancer treatment for some patients with a form of lymphoma, a cancer that attacks the immune system, after NICE today recommended its use.

Tecartus, also known as autologous anti-CD19-transduced CD3+, is a CAR-T therapy which reengineers the patient’s white blood cells to recognise and attack cancer cells in a laboratory, before being infused back into the patient.

New NICE guidance says the treatment can be considered for those with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma, who must previously have had a drug called Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor, such as ibrutinib.

The public body has agreed a managed access agreement, through the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), with manufacturer Kite so more data can be collected while patients access the treatment. A confidential discount for use of the therapy was agreed by NHS England and Kite.

There is no standard treatment for adults with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma after a BTK inhibitor, but a combination of rituximab, bendamustine and cytarabine (R BAC) is the most common treatment option. As a result of NICE’s approval, around 100 patients each year could be treated with Tecartus.

Evidence from a study of the CAR-T therapy, seen by NICE’s independent appraisal committee, suggests that people receiving the treatment may live for longer and have more time before their disease relapses.

However, as there is not enough evidence to confirm whether lymphoma patients having the CAR-T therapy can be cured, the NICE committee has asked for further data to be collected on progression-free survival, overall survival, and the age when treatment starts.

Meindert Boysen, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of NICE’s Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said: “We are pleased to be able to recommend another revolutionary CAR T-cell therapy, this time for adults with mantle cell lymphoma, which represents a step forward for personalised medicine. Clinicians will be able to consider this innovative therapy for their patients because of joint working between NICE, NHS England and NHS Improvement and the company.

“CAR T-cell therapy is expensive. The treatment is specific to each individual and could be a potential cure for some, although it is early days. Our recommendation for Tecartus, on the Cancer Drugs Fund, means people can benefit while more data is collected.”

Darcy Jimenez

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