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A breast cancer drug developed in Newcastle has been denied funding by the NHS. Perjeta is designed to extend the lives of patients.
Gregg Easteal reports.
A charity has expressed its "disappointment" over a decision not to provide a life-extending breast cancer drug on the NHS.
Breast Cancer Campaign said it hopes the draft decision from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) will be reversed before officials make a final determination on pertuzumab as a treatment for an advanced form of the disease.
The drug, also known as Perjeta, was widely welcomed when it was first introduced by manufacturers Roche.
The drug targets the HER-2 gene found in 20 percent of breast cancer patients. Trials have found that when used alongside the drug Herceptin and chemotherapy, patients live an average of six months longer without their cancer getting worse, compared with those just on Herceptin and chemotherapy.
At present, patients can access the drug through the Cancer Drugs Fund but it is not routinely available through the health service.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) says it cannot recommend breast cancer drug pertuzumab for widespread use because clinical trial data could not predict how long the drug might extend people's lives for.
The organisation has now launched a consultation to hear the views of charities, patient groups and drug manufacturers.
Nice chief executive Sir Andrew Dillon said: "The appraisal committee couldn't be sure of the benefits of pertuzumab.
"The main clinical trial did not reflect current medical practice in the UK and despite the research data suggesting the treatment could help delay the growth and spread of the disease, the evidence was not robust enough to confirm for how long pertuzumab may actually extend people's lives."