New life extending treatment gives blood cancer patients an extra five years

Thousands of patients with ­incurable blood cancer will be given the chance of an extra five years after a new treatment was given the go-ahead for use on the NHS.

Three-drug combination DRD will be offered to the two-thirds of newly-diagnosed myeloma sufferers who cannot receive a stem cell transplant, usually due to age or frailty.

It won the green light for health service use in England and Wales from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. The medicines assessor estimates 2,600 people will benefit a year.

Shelagh McKinlay, of charity Myeloma UK, said: “DRD is a game changer that will make a tremendous ­difference to patients’ quality of life, and finally help to close the gap in survival between people who are eligible for a stem cell transplant and those who are not.

“Not only has DRD been shown to nearly double remission times, but it gets myeloma under control faster.

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“They’ll benefit from a ­life-extending treatment that could give them five precious years with their loved ones.”

Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that often affects ­several areas of the body, such as the spine, skull, ­pelvis and ribs.

Around 6,000 patients are diagnosed each year.

DRD combines daratumumab (Darzalex), lenalidomide (Revlimid) and dexamethasone. The latter two were previously given together, helping patients live an average three years.

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