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New drug launched for relapsed multiple myeloma

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A new treatment for patients with multiple myeloma has been launched in the UK.

Carfilzomib (Kyprolis) in combination with lenalidomide and dexamethasone is now available for the treatment of adult patients with multiple myeloma who have received at least one prior therapy.

“It’s extremely important that we continue to see access to new effective treatments”

Eric Low

Carfilzomib is the first licensed irreversible proteasome inhibitor for use in combination treatment of patients with relapsed multiple myeloma.

The European Commission licensed the drug in combination with lenalidomide and dexamethasone based on the ASPIRE study. In the trial, relapsed patients treated with carfilzomib in combination with lenalidomide and dexamethasone lived 8.7 months longer without disease progression than those given lenalidomide and dexamethasone alone.

Pharmaceutical company Amgen said it expected to make a submission to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence later this year for the injectable drug to be made routinely available via the NHS.

Eric Low, chief executive of the charity Myeloma UK, said: “It’s extremely important that we continue to see access to new effective treatments.

“To that end, we very much welcome the European approval of carfilzomib and we will work closely with Amgen and the various healthcare technology assessment bodies in the UK to ensure that patients get access as quickly as possible,” he said.

Multiple myeloma is the second most common haematological cancer in the UK, characterised by unregulated plasma cell proliferation.

The UK has approximately 4,900 new cases diagnosed each year. It is an aggressive cancer with less than half of patients surviving for five years.

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