Micrograph of a diffuse large B cell lymphoma. Credit: Nephron /

The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has issued final draft guidance recommending the use of Kite’s axicabtagene ciloleucel (yescarta) to treat aggressive forms of lymphoma.

The chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy axicabtagene ciloleucel has been recommended for relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL) in adult patients who have previously received two or more lines of systemic therapy.

It takes own immune cells of a patient and modifies them to attach and destroy cancer cells.

The new CAR-T therapy will be given as a one-off intravenous infusion.

Previously, it was available through the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).

After the NHS Commercial Medicines Directorate signed a confidential commercial deal with the company, axicabtagene ciloleucel will be commissioned routinely to patients in England.

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The independent appraisal committee of NICE considered new evidence for axicabtagene ciloleucel that includes data from a clinical trial and from people receiving the CAR-T therapy through the CDF before making the recommendation.

Between December 2018 and October 2021 in England, 318 people received axicabtagene ciloleucel through the CDF.

According to data collected over 36 months, the median overall survival of people receiving the treatment was 28.5 months and 45% of them were alive after three years.

NICE medicines evaluation director Helen Knight said: “I am delighted that we have been able to recommend this pioneering treatment for people.

“The evidence from its use in the CDF and clinical trials shows it can offer an effective treatment, helping people live longer and with a better quality of life.

“This news illustrates how NICE is determined to get the best care to patients fast, while ensuring value for money for the taxpayer.”

Cell & Gene Therapy coverage on Pharmaceutical Technology is supported by Cytiva.

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