A new £340 million fund to help fast track life-saving treatments for rare conditions has been announced by the NHS.
The Innovative Medicines Fund will allow patients to have early access to the most clinically promising treatments without the need for lengthy assessments. It is an extension of the existing Cancer Drugs Fund and will support patients with any condition, including those with rare and genetic diseases. Across both funds, £640 million has been ring-fenced annually for therapies.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “We want NHS patients to continue to be the first in the world to benefit from cutting-edge treatments.”
The Chair of the Brain Tumour Research Scientific and Medical Advisory Board (SMAB) Emeritus Professor of Neurosurgery, Garth Cruickshank feels that this IMF initiative appears to be very good news for brain tumour patients.
He said: “For glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) patients this a real step forward as their life expectancy is so poor that they may not live long enough to be well enough to take such a new drug or to benefit from it. Importantly, this initiative starts to unravel the conventional wisdom of having a long runway of testing before access to patients in a situation where such an approach has not borne much fruit in the last 30 years.”
However promising this sounds though, and we would hope that brain tumour patients such as those with recurrent GBM are early accessors to this programme, the fact remains that the drugs must be available for early access to be of benefit and for brain tumour patients these new therapeutic options just haven’t been available. The route to clinical innovation and new therapeutics remains underpinned by appropriate funding of the early-stage research that begins the translational pipeline.
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