The UK’s first as breakthrough kidney cancer combination treatment has been approved for immediate use through the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) in England and Wales.
N.I.C.E (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) has today approved use of the drug combination of as first line treatment for kidney cancer patients in England and Wales.
This is the first combination of immunotherapy – a method to treat cancer using man-made copies of substances found naturally in the body which stimulate the body’s own immune system to attack the cancer cells – and targeted therapy – a cancer treatment using drugs to target specific genes and proteins that are involved in the growth and survival of cancer cells- to be made available through the CDF (Cancer Drugs Fund) for all untreated kidney cancer patients.
An Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS) allowing patients meeting certain criteria to access the combination has been operational since August 2019.
Kidney Cancer UK have been involved in the NICE process and supporting people who have been on this combination.
Colin, a patient from Herefordshire who was part of the JAVELIN Renal 100 trial, said: “For me the treatment has been a great success. My cancer was immediately reduced in size and eventually I experienced what is called ‘a complete response’, meaning there was no visible cancer that lasted for over two years. The cancer eventually returned and for over a year I carried on having the same treatment as things are stable and I was getting a benefit.”
Evidence from clinical trials show that for people with untreated advanced kidney cancer, the avelumab/ axitinib combination increases survival rates without the disease getting worse, compared with sunitinib. Early trial results on this combination suggest this treatment increases how long people with the disease live. More information will be collected whilst the drug combination is accessed through the cancer drugs fund.
Dr Ekaterini Boleti, Consultant Medical Oncologist at the Royal Free London said: “We are delighted to see the approval of this novel combination treatment, the first of its kind in the UK, being made available to kidney cancer patients through the CDF offering new hope to patients in England and Wales. Experience from trials has shown tolerance levels to this regime are good and unlike doublet immunotherapies used to date, this combination of avelumab and axitinib can be used across all prognostic group of patients.”
Susanna Smith, a Healthcare Professional at Kidney Cancer UK said: “To have this treatment available for all patients is a huge breakthrough. This combination has shown great results in trials and is manageable for patients, which is a great leap forward and it means they can continue to live a good quality of life whilst being treated.”