Therapy has been developed to treat adult patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma

The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson has announced that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended Darzalex – also known as daratumumab – in combination with lenalidomide and dexamethasone.

The therapy concerns previously untreated multiple myeloma (MM) patients and will be available for routine use among adults across the NHS in England and Wales.

Recommendation criteria also involves patients who are newly diagnosed MM and for whom an autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) is unsuitable.

Amanda Cunnington, Senior Director of Patient Access and Health Affairs at Janssen-Cilag Limited, was optimistic about the verdict: “We are delighted that eligible patients in England are now able to access this much needed combination therapy, which has been shown to improve outcomes by delaying the progression of disease and extending life-expectancy.”

She added: “We have worked diligently with NICE and NHS England over a number of years to navigate system challenges and achieve this outcome for patients. We hope that with further evolution of the access system in the UK and continued collaborations such as this, the UK life sciences industry can continue its efforts to address unmet needs for people living with blood cancer.”

Shelagh McKinlay, Director of Research and Advocacy at blood cancer charity Myeloma UK, concluded: “We will continue to campaign to make sure that people living with myeloma receive access to the latest, most effective treatments when they need them, and we are committed to working with NICE, NHS England and other key partners towards this goal. Until we find a cure, it is vital that all myeloma patients are allowed to live a full life for as long as possible.”

Currently, multiple myeloma is an incurable blood cancer emerging in plasma cells, with around 24,000 people living with the disease in the UK. Meanwhile, over 5,000 people in England and 260 in Wales are diagnosed every year.