We are absolutely delighted to announce that the NHS in Northern Ireland has now given the green light to life-extending drug Abraxane®.
Abraxane is now available on the NHS to patients across the UK.
Trials have shown that Abraxane®, in combination with gemcitabine, can extend a patient’s life by an average of 2.1 months, although in some patients it was shown to be significantly longer – up to 2-3 years.
The drug has previously been rejected by the Health Board in Northern Ireland.
“It is wonderful to learn that Abraxane®, has finally been made available to pancreatic cancer patients In Northern Ireland. ” says Ali Stunt, founder and chief executive at Pancreatic Cancer Action.
Pancreatic Cancer Action took a leading role in campaigning for the drug to be approved, including a demonstration outside Public Health England in 2015, and highlighting the issues in the media.
The treatment of pancreatic cancer remains an area of unmet need, with around 8 in 10 cases diagnosed at a late stage in England and Scotland. Survival rates have shown minimal improvement over the past 40 years and the disease has one of the worst five-year survival rates of common cancers in England and Wales. In the 1970s, 1% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survived their disease beyond ten years, today it is still approximately 1%.
Every day in the UK there are approximately 26 new diagnoses of pancreatic cancer, as well as an estimated 24 deaths due to this disease.
Ali Stunt, Founder and CEO of Pancreatic Cancer Action, adds: “Life-extending treatment options are invaluable for people with metastatic pancreatic cancer. With just a two to six month life expectancy from diagnosis, that extra time can make a huge difference to patients and families.
“Northern Ireland’s Health Board decision to expand available treatment options will be welcomed by those patients and their families. We are pleased that Celgene, the patient community and the Northern Ireland NHS have worked together to reach this positive outcome for patients.”