A significant breakthrough for mesothelioma patients
People suffering from mesothelioma received a welcome improvement to their treatment for the condition with the recent announcement that a new drug has been approved for the asbestos-related cancer in England and Wales.
The treatment is the first immunotherapy treatment for 14 years to be made available by the NHS for mesothelioma patients in the two countries. Previously the treatment was only available privately until the change in policy by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) which has issued a Final Appraisal Document (FAD) recommending the combination of nivolumab plus ipilimumab for the first-line treatment of adult patients with unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM).
James Walsh, partner and head of asbestos and industrial disease at GA Solicitors, who’s team has represented a significant number of mesothelioma sufferers, explained:
“This is a significant breakthrough for mesothelioma patients. In the past we have been able to secure funding for immunotherapy on a private basis from insurers, but this has often proved to be problematic, costly and time consuming when speed is often of the essence for victims of asbestos exposure.
It has been a long battle to persuade the NICE committee to approve nivolumab and ipilimumab combined immunotherapy treatment on the NHS. The drugs should improve both the life expectancy and quality of life of those suffering from mesothelioma which is great news.
Unfortunately, there are still over 2,700 diagnosed with mesothelioma in the UK each year. I act to secure compensation for many of those who have worked at Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth in the 1960’s and 70’s where they were exposed to asbestos. We are also seeing cases in Devon and Cornwall of those who came into contact with asbestos in schools, hospitals, council houses and other public buildings. We support the campaign for the removal of asbestos from these buildings, but sadly this will be too late for those previously exposed.”