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Woman with 'weeks to live' gets €80,000 cancer drug

A WOMAN with "just weeks to live" has been given a last-gasp chance of survival after all other treatments failed.

Angela Hayden, who is seriously ill with cancer, is to receive an unlicensed high-tech drug costing €80,000 a course.

The 50-year-old, from Sheepmore Close in Blanchardstown, Dublin, is suffering from Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Mrs Hayden, a patient at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, is to be treated with the drug Adcetris (Brentuximab Vedotin) after all other treatment failed.

The drug -- which so far is only licensed in the US -- is the first medicine to be approved to treat Hodgkin's lymphoma in nearly 35 years.

Mrs Hayden's daughter Teresa said last night they had appealed to Beaumont to fund the course, but it did not receive the final go-ahead from the Health Service Executive (HSE) until yesterday.

"My mum has only a few weeks left to live. But the new drug could give her a 70pc chance of survival," she added.

"Her doctor believes it is the best and only chance of a cure for her."

Mrs Hayden, a mother of four, whose youngest child is 18 years of age, became ill over a year ago.

"Last summer we thought she'd beaten the cancer but it came back and all the treatments so far have failed,'' said Teresa.

She accepted that ''there is no guarantee the new drug will cure her -- though the results so far have been very promising -- but at a minimum it will give us a few more years.

"My mum is a cheerful and loving woman. She is also a very proud grandmother. She makes the costumes for the Nativity play in the local school.

"She is the person that holds our family together and she will be dead within a month if something isn't done now.''

A spokesman for Beaumont Hospital said it does not discuss the clinical treatment of individual patients.


He added: "Beaumont can confirm, however, that in recent discussions with the HSE a decision was made to authorise the use of Adcetris (Brentuximab Vedotin), where appropriate, in the treatment of refractory CD30 positive lymphomas.

"This is a new drug which has only recently been approved by the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and is currently in the process of obtaining European licensing."

The FDA in the US based its approval on a study of 102 people with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

It found 73pc of those treated with the drug experienced either a complete or partial cancer shrinkage for an average of about six months.

Irish Independent