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New licensed treatment could mean people live for longer

Posted by: Policy and campaigning 18 October 2016

A new treatment has today become licensed for advanced pancreatic cancer, potentially providing a vital new second option for patients for whom chemotherapy has not been effective.

The treatment, Onivyde®, is currently being considered by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for general use on the NHS in England. Charities Pancreatic Cancer UK and Pancreatic Cancer Action are now urging NICE to give the treatment the go-ahead, so as many people with advanced pancreatic cancer in England as possible can access it on the NHS, and have the chance of living for longer. 

There are very few treatments for pancreatic cancer, and 80 per cent of people with the disease are diagnosed at an advanced stage. Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all the 21 most common cancers. 

Alex Ford, Chief Executive at Pancreatic Cancer UK, said: “We are delighted that a new treatment has been licensed for advanced pancreatic cancer, as this could give people another option if chemotherapy hasn’t worked for them. We must now fully embrace this opportunity to potentially give people with advanced disease the chance of living longer and spending more precious time with their loved ones. NICE must recommend this treatment for general use on the NHS in England without delay.

“Pancreatic cancer is a deadly disease with few treatment options and tragically, just five per cent of people live for five years or longer after diagnosis. Giving people with advanced disease every single option when it comes to treatments is absolutely crucial.”

Ali Stunt, Founder and Chief Executive, at Pancreatic Cancer Action said: “This is fantastic news for pancreatic cancer patients who will benefit from access to Onivyde®.  Pancreatic cancer is a disease with very limited treatment options, and to date there has been no approved second-line treatment available for patients when Gemcitabine, the standard of care for first-line treatment of the disease, has failed.

“Onivyde® is currently only available privately which unfortunately means that the majority of patients in the UK will not be able to access it.  We therefore urge NICE and other HTAs to consider Onivyde® for use on the NHS given the fact pancreatic cancer has such a poor prognosis with a vast unmet need.”