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NICE to assess potentially new pancreatic cancer drug

Posted by: Policy and campaigning 29 January 2016

We are delighted that today the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has announced it will be assessing a new drug that might offer benefit to some pancreatic cancer patients. We firmly believe that we need to see more effective treatment options for pancreatic cancer patients made available on the NHS and are therefore pleased to see another drug being put forward for appraisal.

The drug is called Nanoliposomal irinotecan. It is still in the process of gaining regulatory approval, but NICE are keen to begin assessing it now so that if it does gain regulatory approval, they can issue a decision more quickly. If and when it gets that approval, the drug will also be given an additional, shorter brand name.

Nanoliposomal irinotecan, when used in combination with other chemotherapy drugs, has been shown in trials to offer around 2 more months’ survival to patients, compared to other treatment options. Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of any of the most common cancers and so even a modest period of life-extension represents a relatively large survival gain for some patients, allowing them to spend more time with their families and loved ones.

Whilst it will not be possible for ALL pancreatic cancer patients to have access to Nanoliposomal irinotecan, it will potentially offer more treatment options for some eligible patients with advanced metastatic pancreatic cancer if they have previously had treatment with gemcitabine-based chemotherapy.

NICE plan to appraise Nanoliposomal irinotecan over the course of 2016 and we will be sure to provide updates on progress – including on its regulatory approval status - when we have more details. We will also be seeking to gather more detailed views of patients and carers over the coming months to help ensure we can best put across their experiences and knowledge to NICE as part of the appraisal process