People with sarcoma in Scotland now have access to a new cancer drug via NHS Scotland.
Olaratumab (also known as Lartruvo) has been approved in Scotland for people with a soft tissue sarcoma that has spread and can’t be treated with surgery or radiotherapy. Sarcoma UK sat with clinicians at the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) to provide a clear understanding why access to olaratumab can improve overall survival and quality of life.
The SMC acknowledged that sarcoma often occurs in younger people who may have significant work and family commitments and this treatment gives patients the ability to maintain a good quality of life.
"We made a strong case to the Scottish Medicines Consortium", explains Lindsey Bennister, Chief Executive Sarcoma UK, on the SMC's decision to approve olaratumab for people living with soft tissue sarcoma. "Around 200 people in Scotland, many of them young and in the prime of their lives, will be diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma this year. They now have the same opportunity to maintain their quality of life, just as patients in England and Wales do."
Olaratumab is one of the new generation of cancer treatments called a monoclonal antibody. Monoclonal antibodies are proteins that are made in the laboratory. They bind with a substance in the cancer cell and block signals that tell the cancer to grow.
"Sarcoma UK welcomes the SMC decision to approve this new treatment", says Lindsey Bennister. “Sarcoma UK has been at the forefront of the efforts to have new treatments for sarcoma made available in Scotland. Patients and carers affected by sarcoma shared their experiences and this made all the difference in getting the treatment approved."
The announcement follows the decision by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in June 2017 to approve Olaratumab for use in the NHS in England and Wales.
Sarcoma UK Trustee Dr Jeff White, consultant medical oncologist at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, says: “This is wonderful news for patients living with soft tissue sarcoma in Scotland and it offers them real hope for the future. As a clinician treating sarcoma patients within the Scottish Sarcoma Managed Clinical Network, it is vital that we have access to the latest treatments for sarcoma so this is a very positive step forward.”
Sarcoma UK is the only cancer charity in the UK focusing on all types of sarcoma. Its mission is to drive awareness of sarcoma, promote early diagnosis and improve patient experience. The charity offers support to those affected by sarcoma and has funded more than £1.7 million in sarcoma research to date. To find out more visit sarcoma.org.uk