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NICE backs the use of lenalidomide to treat MDS

written by

Leukaemia Care, Charity

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published the final draft of guidance that says that  lenalidomide should be available on the NHS in England and Wales to treat myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).

The recommendation overturns negative guidance published by NICE in 2013 due to concerns about the drug's hefty price-tag.

However, pharmaceutical company, Celgene, has since agreed to provide lenalidomide at a discount to the NHS.

Myelodysplastic syndromes are characterised by the underproduction of one or more types of blood cells due to dysfunction of the bone marrow and are diagnosed in about 2,000 people each year in England.

Symptoms of the disorders include weakness and frequent infections, although they can also lead to acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and anaemia.

The NICE recommendation covers the use of lenalidomide in people with a specific type of MDS that is characterised by a chromosomal abnormality called an isolated deletion 5q cytogenetic abnormality.

New treatments are desperately needed for this group of people as the current treatment option includes regular blood transfusions.

View the original article here