NICE (National Institute for Health Care and Excellence) has today published its guidance for the use of BTK (Bruton's tyrosine kinase) inhibitor, zanubrutinib, in treating people with Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinaemia (WM), a rare type of blood cancer.
The announcement is good news for the WM community as it means many patients will have access to this effective treatment, which is less invasive than standard treatment and does not require a visit to hospital for treatment.
However, the guidance for England and Wales will restrict access for certain patient groups based on previous treatments or those unsuitable for immunotherapy. Denying WM patients access to this medicine by this decision will be challenging for those not able to receive it.
This guidance will not affect anyone who is already receiving treatment with zanubrutinib that was started in the NHS before this guidance was published.
Jane Nicholson, CEO of WMUK, the UK charity for patients with living with WM, said:
“This announcement is good news for the WM community. It allows some of our patients access to this innovative non-chemo treatment that will improve their quality of life whilst living with WM. However, we and many in the WM community are deeply unhappy that a lot of our patients will be unable to access this treatment.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the patients who offered their experience to demonstrate just how important this life-altering treatment is to people living with WM. We will be working hard to develop evidence on its benefits and to ensure that future NICE appraisals truly recognise the value that new treatments bring.”
We know that you will have many questions about accessing this treatment and how it impacts you. Jane Nicholson, CEO, will be holding two Q & A sessions next week to help answer your questions.