A pill that doubles survival rates for people with myeloma has received approval for use in the European Union, the manufacturer Celgene International said.
Revlimid – or lenalidomide – has been given marketing approval by the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) for use in combination with a standard therapy, dexamethasone, in patients who have received at least one prior treatment.
Myeloma is a cancer of the bone marrow for which there is no cure. About 4,000 people are diagnosed with it in Britain each year with a total of about 20,000 sufferers.
The manufacturer, Celgene International Sarl, will now submit evidence to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) with the aim of having it approved for use on the NHS in England and Wales.
Eric Low, the chief executive of the charity Myeloma UK, said: “The licensing of Revlimid represents another step towards helping myeloma become a disease that in the future people can live with rather than die from.
“Revlimid is an important drug for the treatment of myeloma; however, there are many more hurdles to overcome before it can be widely accessible to the UK myeloma patients who need it.”
Another drug, Velcade, is still undergoing final appraisal by Nice.