Press release 3/2/2009
Patients in England with advanced kidney cancer could soon join their Welsh counterparts in accessing a new drug.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) published revised guidance on the drug Sutent (sunitinib).
Similar advice published last year rejected Sutent for use on the NHS, alongside Avastin (bevacizumab), Nexavar (sorafenib) and Torisel (temsirolimus).
Charities expressed outrage at that decision, saying it left patients only one treatment option - interferon - to which many people do not respond.
Now Nice has revised its guidance, saying Sutent should be approved on the NHS in England but still rejected the other three drugs.
All the guidance is still in a draft stage and is subject to consultation although Nice hopes to issue final advice on Sutent in March.
The medicines do not cure advanced kidney cancer but they can extend a person's life by a matter of months.
Every year, up to 7,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with kidney cancer.
Of these, around 1,700 patients will be diagnosed with advanced kidney cancer and at any one time around 3,600 people are living with the advanced form.
Andrew Dillon, chief executive of Nice, said: "Having decided that one of these treatments should be recommended for use in the NHS, we felt that it was in the interests of patients to get that advice out as quickly as possible. today that Sutent was in the final stages of draft guidance whereas the other drugs were at an earlier stage."