NHS makes deal for breast cancer drug

The NHS has made a deal for a potentially life-saving breast cancer drug which is now set to be rolled out.

Pembrolizumab (brand name, Keytruda®) will be available for up to 1,600 people a year with high risk triple-negative breast cancer.

The drug works in combination with chemotherapy to reduce the chance of breast cancer progressing by almost two fifths.

It works by stimulating the immune system to fight the cancer cells and targets and block a specific protein on the surface of certain immune cells, which then seek out and destroy the cancer cells.

The treatment will be delivered into the bloodstream every three to six weeks for around a year.

NHS chief executive, Amanda Pritchard, said: “This is a hugely significant moment for women – the NHS has struck a new deal to roll out a potentially life-saving drug for patients suffering with the most aggressive form of breast cancer that has been traditionally very difficult to treat.

“It is fantastic news for around 1,600 women across the country each year who have either been diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer or will be in the coming years – it will give hope to those who are diagnosed, and prevent the cancer from progressing allowing people to live normal, healthy, lives.

“This is just the latest commercial drug deal that the NHS has struck for patients – once again highlighting the innovative treatments available at a price that represents good value for money for taxpayers.”

Image by Alexander Grey from Pixabay

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