Ovarian cancer patients have been giving new hope of recovering from their condition, after a new drug was approved for NHS availability.
Health officials approved the potentially life-saving Lynparza with the hope of seriously impacting upon ovarian cancer in the UK.
Yet despite the potential of Lynparza, its approval for NHS prescription was far from certain.
Indeed, it took months of negotiation with the manufacturers of the drug in order for officials to make the approval decision.
It had been thought at one time that cost issues would override the possibility of the drug being made available on the National Health Service.
But it seems that a solution has been found, which will enable the drug, which goes by the name of olaparib, to be made available.
Lynparza will be made available for women who have BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations of ovarian cancer whose disease has responded to a certain type of chemotherapy, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).
In addition, Nice also stated that the drug should be made available to sufferers of ovarian, fallopian tube and peritoneal cancer once they progressed through three courses of platinum-based chemotherapy.
The manufacturers of the drug, AstraZeneca, made strong claims about the performance of its product in tests.
A spokeswoman on behalf of the pharmaceutical corporation stated that there is an 82% risk reduction in time to progression as compared to the standard “watch and wait” approach.
Professor Jonathan Ledermann, professor of medical oncology at the University College London Cancer Institute, and primary investigator of the pivotal olaparib clinical trial, indicated that the study had led to a great deal of optimism about the potential of this medicine.
“The positive Nice guidance for olaparib represents a turning point for how women with ovarian cancer and a BRCA mutation are treated by the NHS in England. These patients with recurrent ovarian cancer tend to have a poor prognosis and until now their treatment options have been limited to conventional chemotherapy and surgery. I urge NHS England to implement this guidance immediately as there are many patients who are waiting for treatment and who could benefit significantly.”
Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women, and accounts for approximately three per cent of cancers overall.
A woman’s lifetime risk of developing invasive ovarian cancer is 1 in 75. A woman’s lifetime risk of dying from invasive ovarian cancer is 1 in 100.
The median age at which women are diagnosed is 63, meaning that half of women are younger than 63 when diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
There are over 4,000 deaths in the UK from ovarian cancer annually.