The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended the routine use of Celgene’s nab-paclitaxel as a life-extending treatment for patients with progressive pancreatic cancer.
Also known as abraxane, nab-paclitaxel will be routinely available for eligible patients on the National Health Service (NHS) England.
The Celgene treatment, when administered in combination with a standard chemotherapy, gemcitabine, is found to have the capability of extending life by an average of 2.4 months.
With the NICE recommendation, nab-Paclitaxel, in combination with gemcitabine, has now become an option for patients with pancreatic cancer when other combination chemotherapy treatments are unsuitable.
The treatment helps block the action of the proteins within cancer cells that cause them to grow and divide.
NICE Centre for Health technology evaluation director Carole Longson said: “The life expectancy of pancreatic cancer is poor, with patients usually living for only up to six months.
“It’s incredibly important that patients and families affected by this disease are able to have routine access to this life extending treatment.”
The decision has been taken after the US-based biotechnology company agreed on a confidential price discount and provided additional evidence on the effectiveness of the treatment.
The organisation has reviewed its guidance from 2015, which did not recommend abraxane for routine use on the NHS for not being cost-effective.
Celgene UK and Ireland general manager Remo Gujer said: “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.”
The treatment will be made available for eligible patients in England through the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).
Image: Representation of pancreas surgery. Photo: courtesy of National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.