NHS use of Pfizer's Bosulif is being endorsed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to treat some patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia, in a move which, if confirmed in final guidelines, could significantly widen access to the drug.

Bosulif (bosutinib), a targeted protein inhibitor that targets the abnormal gene that causes white blood cells to grow and reproduce out of control, is the first drug available through the old Cancer Drugs Fund to be re-appraised by NICE.

The drug is being recommended within its marketing authorisation, to treat chronic, accelerated and blast phase Philadelphia chromosome positive chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) in adults when other protein inhibitor drugs (imatinib, nilotinib and dasatinib) stop working or cause severe side effects.

The current list price for Bosulif is around £45,000 per patient a year, but the company has agreed a patient access scheme (PAS) with the Department of Health under which it offers the drug at a confidential discount.

According to the Institute, around 80 new patients in England and Wales would be eligible for treatment with the drug every year.

"People with this type of chronic myeloid leukaemia, who haven't responded to first and second line treatment or who experience severe side effects, have few or no treatment options left. New patients who need this drug can be reassured that bosutinib should be made available for routine use within the NHS," said Professor Carole Longson, director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE.