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28 May 2014, 06:36
Drug developed by experts at Cambridge Uni will soon be available on the NHS.
A new drug based on decades of research at the University of Cambridge has today been approved by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for use in people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS).
Clinical trials have shown that Alemtuzumab, marketed under the name Lemtrada, reduces disease activity, limits the accumulation of further disability over time and may even allow some existing damage to recover.
The approval has been welcomed by the Cambridge researchers whose work, which started in 1991, led to today's announcement, and by the MS Society.
Professor Alastair Compston, Professor of Neurology and Head of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Cambridge, said: "I am delighted that the decision from NICE will make Lemtrada available on the NHS. This brings to a conclusion work involving a number of research groups in Cambridge, stretching back over several decades, which made possible our use of Alemtuzumab in multiple sclerosis. The decision from NICE now provides an opportunity for neurologists to offer a highly effective therapy for patients with multiple sclerosis early in the course of their illness."
Dr Alasdair Coles, Senior Lecturer, also in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, added: "We are delighted that NICE has supported the EU decision to make this drug available to anyone with active relapsing-remitting MS, without the restrictions invoked on previous drug approvals. This represents a significant change in the way therapies for MS are approved. We are pleased that we are able to offer patients the choice of this new treatment option.''