NHS to treat aggressive form of breast cancer with potentially life-saving drug

A quarter of breast cancer deaths are attributed to triple negative breast cancer.

Final draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) states that some patients in England should be eligible for the drug, also known as Keytruda and made by MSD.

Delivered through the bloodstream, immunotherapy targets and blocks a specific protein on the surface of certain immune cells, which then searches for and destroys cancer cells.

Commenting on the news, Baroness Deleth Morgan, CEO of Breast Cancer Now, said: “This new treatment can make any detectable cancer disappear by the time of surgery, meaning patients will then face less invasive breast-conserving surgery.

“Moreover, by significantly reducing the possibility of breast cancer recurring or spreading to other parts of the body where secondary breast cancer becomes incurable, this treatment brings invaluable hope for potentially more lives saved from this devastating disease.” “

‘A momentous moment’

Earlier this year, the drug was made available to about 100 women a year with advanced triple-negative breast cancer.

Today’s announcement means that hundreds more will be able to access the drug and increase the chance of stopping the progression of cancer and creating the possibility of cancer-free survival for patients.

Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of the NHS, said it was “a very important moment for women”.

Helen Knight, interim director of drug evaluation in Nice, said: “The prognosis for triple-negative breast cancer is relatively poor, and there are few effective treatments compared to other types of the disease.

“Today’s draft guidance means we have now recommended three new treatments for routine use in the NHS since June, helping to meet these unmet needs and giving hope for a longer and better quality of life for thousands of people.”

England’s National Health Service said it had already struck a deal with the manufacturer so it could get the drug to patients as quickly as possible.

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