NHS England will provide certain children and young adults with Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel), Novartis’ CAR-T cell therapy. The NHS says this decision is “the first in what is expected to be a rapidly expanding class of personalized cancer therapies.”
Kymriah was approved by the European Commission last month and by the U.S. FDA last year, and is indicated for treatment of patients up to 25 years old with B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that is refractory, in relapse post-transplant, or in later relapse. The FDA later authorized Kymriah for the treatment of adults with DLBCL, high grade B-cell lymphoma and DLBCL arising from follicular lymphoma, after two or more lines of systemic therapy.
While financial details were not revealed, NHS English stated that the decision to make Kymriah available to patients follows a commercial deal negotiated with Novartis. The Head of NHS, Simon Stevens described Car-T therapy as a “game-changer” in the fight against cancer. Mari Scheiffele, Novartis Oncology general manager for the U.K. and Ireland referenced the “flexibility shown by all parties” as a major contributor to the decision being made.
According to the NHS, the hope is that, given the right circumstances, the first treatments will begin in a few weeks at three NHS hospitals in London, Manchester, and Newcastle.
(Source: NHS England)