People with relapsed multiple myeloma who have had one previous therapy will be able to access another innovative treatment option, daratumumab, through the Cancer Drugs Fund.

Multiple myeloma is a common form of blood cancer with approximately 5,700 cases diagnosed each year in the UK. It is estimated that 2,900 people will be eligible for treatment with daratumumab each year while it is available through the Cancer Drugs Fund.

In the evidence considered by the independent committee, daratumumab (Darzalex, Janssen-Cilag), used in combination with bortezomib plus dexamethasone, extended the length of time people live before their disease progresses by 18 months compared to existing therapies.

Meindert Boysen, director of NICE’s Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said: “Daratumumab in combination with bortezomib plus dexamethasone is potentially game-changing for people with relapsed multiple myeloma.

“Some of the cost-effectiveness evidence we reviewed suggests daratumumab could notably increase the overall survival of people who have had one previous therapy, but the long-term trial data is limited. We have approved daratumumab for use in the Cancer Drugs Fund so people at this stage of their disease can access the treatment while more data is collected.”

Daratumumab is an innovative monoclonal antibody treatment. It kills multiple myeloma cells by recognising CD38, a protein commonly expressed in this particular type of cancer cell, and is the only myeloma treatment of this kind.

Shelagh McKinlay, Head of Patient Advocacy, Myeloma UK said: “This is really positive news and is a major step-change in the treatment available to patients at this stage in their myeloma. For too long there has been real unmet need at first relapse in myeloma.  Limited treatment options have meant that patients were missing out at a critical time in their disease pathway.

“We were glad to make sure the patient voice was heard in the process by submitting evidence to NICE highlighting the value of this treatment to patients and their families.”