The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has recommended pharmaceutical company Janssen’s Imbruvica (ibrutinib) treatment for use in Scottish patients with specific types of rare and aggressive blood cancers.

Ibrutinib is a new class of oral, once-daily medicine known as Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor, with a specific and targeted mode of action.

The medicine can be used to prevent the BTK protein from causing malignant B-cells to multiply and spread.

In Scotland, Ibrutinib has been approved for unrestricted use in patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) and for restricted use in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) with 17p deletion or TP53 mutation who are not fit to receive chemo-immunotherapy.

Janssen UK health economics, market access and reimbursement director Jennifer Lee said: “Janssen is dedicated to ensuring that patients suffering with blood cancer have access to the most effective therapies.

"Janssen is dedicated to ensuring that patients suffering with blood cancer have access to the most effective therapies."

“While we are pleased that ibrutinib is now available for patients in Scotland with relapsed / refractory MCL, the restricted recommendation means that only a minority of CLL patients are currently able to access ibrutinib as a result of this decision.

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“It is therefore our priority to work with the SMC to ensure that all CLL patients who need it will have access to the treatment in the future.”

The treatment licensing, as well as SMC recommendation for Janssen’s ibrutinib was granted on the basis of the results from two different trials, Resonate and PCYC 1104.

Approximately 620 new cases of MCL and CLL are currently reported in Scotland every year, with the majority of people affected being more than 60 years old.

Image: Micrograph showing mantle cell lymphoma. Photo: courtesy of Nephron.