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Kidney Cancer UK call for approval of Nivolumab by NICE

This is our press release on the initial negative NICE recommendation for the availability of nivolumab through the NHS.

Kidney Cancer UK are demanding NICE reconsider their initial recommendation not to allow use of nivolumab through the NHS for kidney cancer or lung cancer patients.

“This is unacceptable news. We were optimistic of good news in the light of the scientific data surrounding nivolumab, so are bitterly disappointed that NICE will not recommend Nivolumab in October at this point. This is a drug that data shows; and from first hand conversations we have had with patients taking part in trails confirms, a higher quality of life through drastically lowers side-effects, is a much less intense regime of treatment, and offers extended life expectancy to those with advanced stage kidney cancer.” said Nick Turkentine, Kidney Cancer UK CEO.

“This is the first NICE committee meeting has taken place to review the clinical trial evidence, and today they have stated it is unlikely to recommend the drug for advanced kidney cancer. It is our intention to change this initial recommendation in time for their second committee meeting in August and to ensure nivolumab is recommended for use through the NHS in October.”

It is not clear why nivolumab would be recommended recently for use in skin cancer but not for advanced kidney cancer, and as such, we call for a document detailing their reason behind this initial recommendation to be published. The drug has shown great promise in both diseases, it is our understanding that the price of the drug is the same in both cases and the number of people who would benefit from this drug is similar. “The only difference we can see between the recommendations is that we are now post EU decision and in the early mist of Brexit. We appeal to the government not to make the kidney cancer patients the victims of their purse tightening in this time of uncertainty.”

Nick Turkentine concluded; “We will continue to campaign vigorously and offer help and support in area we can to NICE on the nivolumab appraisal process. They must see how many people would benefit from the quality of life and the life expectancy and hope nivolumab will give them. This recommendation calls into question the manner in which NICE come to their decisions and it is something we will call them to account on by questioning their process of drug evaluation.”

• In 2013 more than 11,800 people were diagnosed with kidney cancer, that’s about 33 people each day.
• The incidence of kidney cancer has been steadily increasing in the UK, mainly attributed to lifestyle factors, such as obesity and smoking.
• In addition, an increase in the number of tumours detected when a patient has a scan for an unrelated condition may have contributed to the rise in the number of cases.
• Kidney cancer is now the seventh most common cancer in the UK and accounts for three per cent of all new diagnoses of cancer; it is the fifth most common type of cancer in men and the tenth in women.

For further information or support for patients, carers, family or friends relating to any kidney cancer matters, please visit www.kcuk.org.uk or our free Careline is available by calling 0800 002 9002.

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