Are new cancer drugs been developed and recommended to patients?

Research FOR Patients
-For an informed and empowered opinion-
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The Institute of Cancer Research, London, one of the world’s most influential cancer research organisations, has published an in-depth analysis about the discovery and access of innovative cancer drugs.

Read the full report

Good news for haematological cancers

Haematological cancers have seen dramatic advances in treatment over the last decade as cancer patients reap the rewards from progress in research.

Over one-third of all authorisations for new drugs were for haematological cancers (leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma), with many individual drugs receiving authorisations for multiple indications which, in part, may reflect the diversity of this group of diseases.

In total, the European Medicines Agency, the EMA, licensed 34 new drugs for blood cancers. Among those drugs authorised for MDS are Vidaza and Revlimid and Epoetin

How long does it take for patients to get new cancer drugs once they have been patented?

The report also examines the data to find out how quickly patented discoveries for cancer are moving through the drug development pipeline, EMA authorisation and the NICE appraisal process.

Some findings were not so encouraging. The time it is taking to evaluate drugs in clinical trials and make them available for NHS patients is increasing. And the average time from the start of a phase I trial to EMA authorisation is increasing – going up from 7.8 years between 2000 to 2008 to 9.1 years from 2009 to 2016

On the positive side, since 2009, NICE has successfully reduced the lag time between EMA authorisation and the beginning of its appraisal from a mean of 21 months to 6.5 months. However of the drugs NICE has assessed, only two-thirds have been recommended by NICE for NHS use. Highly innovative drugs, which attack cancers in new ways, were less likely to have been approved by NICE for use in the NHS.

Report Conclusions

Taking into consideration all types of cancer, and the access to medicines among different populations, the report shows evidence that:

  1. Many cancer patients are missing out on new drugs
  2. More drugs are needed for children’s cancers
  3. It is taking far too long to deliver new cancer drugs to patients
  4. We need to do more to encourage radical innovation

Professor Raj Chopra Head of the Division of Cancer Therapeutics and Director of the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at the ICR:

“Big leaps forward in cancer survival are achievable, but only if we find ways to better harness our increased scientific knowledge of cancer and accelerate the delivery of innovative new drugs to patients.”

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