The National Institute for Health and Care Excellent (NICE) has approved Novartis’ chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T cell) therapy Kymriah for use in adults with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

Kymriah (tisagenlecluecel) will be available on the NHS for patients who have not responded to two or more previous treatments for DLBCL with funding from the cancer drugs fund (CDF).

The treatment itself has a list price of 282,000 per patient with a confidential deal putting it on equal terms with rival Yescarta from Gilead.

Mari Scheiffele, General Manager of Novartis Oncology, said: “Today’s positive announcement regarding access to Kymriah treatment in England was secured as a result of our close working collaboration with NICE and NHS England, with all parties showing flexibility.”

The agreement is actually the second for Kymriah as last year in 2018 it was approved for use in children and young adults with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).

Meindert Boysen, director at NICE, said: “Recommending another revolutionary CAR T-cell therapy for adults with lymphoma represents a step forward for personalised medicine.

“We are pleased that patients are set to benefit from such an innovative therapy so rapidly because of joint working between NICE, NHS England and the company.

“CAR T-cell therapy is expensive, however the treatment is specific to each individual and could be a potential cure for some, although it is early days. Our recommendation for tisagenlecleucel on the CDF means people can benefit while more data is collected.”

CAR-Ts involve taking white blood cells, which are later engineered in a lab to identify and attack cancer cells, which are then transplanted back into the patient.

For more information about CAR-T, please see our FocusOn feature “The mechanics of CAR-T in oncology”.