The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has approved the use of daratumumab (Darzalex) to treat myeloma patients on National Health Service (NHS) Scotland.
The drug is currently being jointly developed by Genmab and Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Biotech, which has procured worldwide commercialisation rights to the treatment from Genmab.
Daratumumab is the first new immunotherapy drug that has been approved for the treatment of patients with myeloma in the UK.
It belongs to a group of medicines known as monoclonal antibodies and works by using the patient’s own immune system to combat myeloma cells in order to either kill them or stop them from growing.
Approved as a monotherapy, the drug can be used as a fourth line treatment option for patients with relapsed and/or refractory myeloma, whose prior treatment has included a proteasome inhibitor drug, such as bortezomib (Velcade), and an immunomodulatory drug, such as lenalidomide (Revlimid).
The treatment can also be used on patients who have demonstrated disease progression on their last treatment.
Myeloma UK chief executive Rosemarie Finley said: “This is great news for myeloma patients in Scotland and their families.
“Daratumumab is an exciting and innovative new treatment which has been shown to have a very beneficial effect on length of remission in patients who respond.
“Despite the welcome approval of new drugs in recent years, there is still an urgent need for new myeloma treatments; especially for relapsed patients who have exhausted other standard treatment options. Today’s approval gives myeloma patients whose cancer has come back an important new treatment option.”
Myeloma UK is the only organisation in the country that focuses on dealing with myeloma.
Image: Daratumumab injection. Photo: courtesy of Myeloma UK.