Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Delay in Releasing This Drug Is Risking Our Lives

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Delay in Releasing This Drug Is Risking Our Lives

Article excerpt

Byline: Helen Rae Health Reporter helen.rae@ncjmedia.co.uk

DELAYS in releasing a prostate cancer drug are putting lives needlessly at risk, says a father diagnosed with the disease. Enzalutamide, developed with the help of North East clinical trials, is one of the few treatments shown to extend the lives of men with advanced prostate cancer after standard hormone therapy and chemotherapy has been tried.

Yet access to the treatment will now be delayed after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has issued second draft guidance for the pioneering treatment.

The move is a major blow and disappointment to many prostate cancer patients in the North East who would benefit from Enzalutamide now.

Father-of-two Mike Ridley-Smith was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in July last year. The delays were devastating for the married 56-year-old as the cancer has also spread to his lymph nodes.

The business development manager, of Jesmond, Newcastle, said: "I am very disappointed that a decision on the drug has been delayed as no price should be put on a life.

"A year ago I had no idea that my world would change so dramatically. By delaying a decision lives are being put at risk as patients should have the option to try this drug if they want to.

"I would hope that Nice will give their final outcome soon."

Last year, data from a major trial showed that the new pill, costing around PS2,500 a month, can extend the lives of patients no longer being treated by almost five months.

A clinical trial into the drug was undertaken at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, based at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital.

Seven out of 10 of the men in the Phase III Affirm trial taking Enzalutamide, were still alive after one year. The drug blocks molecular signals that allow the male hormone testosterone to fuel prostate cancer. …

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