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08
Aug
SMC makes venetoclax available to treat CLL

written by

Leukaemia Care, Charity

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On the 7th August the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) announced approval of venetoclax, a drug marketed by Abbvie as Venclyxto®, for use in Scotland to treat chronic lymphocytic leukaemia  (CLL). The SMC advises NHS Boards and Area Drug and Therapeutic Committees (ADTCs) on drug use within NHS Scotland.  Yesterday’s announcement will result in this innovative treatment becoming routinely available for Scottish NHS patients very soon.

Venetoclax’s novel mode of action works by selectively inhibiting a protein which is over expressed in CLL tumour cells.  This B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) protein mediates and promotes tumour cell survival by preventing the natural cellular “self-destruct” process (apoptosis). Inhibiting Bcl-2 triggers apoptosis, programmed cell death.

SMC ADVICE: following a full submission assessed under the end of life and orphan medicine process, venetoclax (Venclyxto®) was accepted for use within NHS Scotland as monotherapy for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL):

In phase II, non-comparative studies of patients with relapsed / refractory CLL, treatment with venetoclax was associated with clinically meaningful overall response rates.

This advice takes account of views from a Patient and Clinician Engagement (PACE) meeting

The detailed advice document can be found here

Nick York, a CLL patient working as Campaigns and Advocacy Officer at Leukaemia CARE commented:

Reports from patients confirm that following venetoclax treatment many are doing well and are gaining significant survival benefits, improved quality of life, a reduction of symptoms and are looking forward and able to live their lives again.

Patients unsuitable for, or who have failed treatment with a B-cell receptor (BCR) inhibitor have few remaining options, a poor quality of life and very limited survival.

Leukaemia CARE welcome the SMC decision to make venetoclax available to this group of NHS Scotland patients.

We very much hope that NICE will now follow Scotland and make this important treatment available to England and Wales CLL patients.

It is also reassuring to see Venetoclax being clinically trialed in different CLL patient populations in combination with other agents. This could become a game changer for many and offers much hope for CLL patients into the future.

For further information, please contact our Campaigns and Advocacy team. They are available Monday to Friday from 9:00am – 5:30pm. If you would like to contact them, you can:

For more information on Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), please click here.