Wednesday 18 October 2017

Expensive new cancer drug helps prolong patient survival

Health Minister Simon Harris Photo: Peter Cavanagh
Health Minister Simon Harris Photo: Peter Cavanagh
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

A third of patients with advanced kidney cancer who were put on an expensive new cancer drug were still alive five years later.

Nivolumab is being assessed by experts here and is not yet recommended for HSE funding. But it has also been found to show promise in reducing tumours in lung cancer patients.

The ability to fund a range of expensive new medicines is one of the major challenges facing Health Minister Simon Harris.

Both sets of results were presented to the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago over the weekend.

Prof John McCaffrey, consultant medical oncologist at the Mater Hospital, Dublin, said: "It is rare for advanced kidney cancer patients to survive beyond five years - less than 10pc. Early access to these agents will be an imperative for Irish kidney cancer patients and their families."

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