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MabThera gets NICE recommendation

The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence has recommended the use of cancer drug, MabThera, it was announced on February 27.

The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended the use of cancer drug, MabThera, it was announced on February 27.

MabThera (rituximab) is a used as maintenance therapy to treat patients with relapsed/refractory follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

Manufactured by pharma company Roche, MabThera has already shown that it can increase the average life span of an NHL patient by four years.

Dr Premini Mahendra, consultant haematologist at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham, said: "Rituximab is continuing to revolutionise the management of NHL."

"The positive NICE guidance for rituximab in the maintenance setting represents a significant step forward in the management of one of the most common forms of NHL."

Used in conjunction with chemotherapy, MabThera is currently the only drug on the market which increases overall patient survival.

Data collected so far indicates that patients' risk of death is reduced by 48 per cent and allows them to manage the disease as a chronic condition rather than life threatening illness.

Mahendra said: "By reducing the risk of death and trebling progression free survival in patients living with this disease, the maintenance approach to treatment is moving this cancer to a chronic disease status."

The efficacy of MabThera means that administration of the drug can take place at intervals of several months and patients do not have to undergo repeated courses of chemotherapy.

28th February 2008

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