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Cambridge MS drug available on NHS

Cambridge MS drug available on NHS
28th May 2014

A treatment method for multiple sclerosis (MS) that took nearly 25 years to make will now be available on the NHS.

The drug known as Lemtrada, which was developed at Cambridge University, has now been authorised by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).

In trials, it was shown to lessen the adverse effects of the disease, prevent how much damage it will do and, in some cases, even help to heal what the illness had destroyed. It is designed for those with relapsing-remitting MS, which is experienced by the majority of individuals with the condition.

Head of clinical neurosciences at Cambridge Professor Alastair Compston welcomed the move that means Lemtrada will be available on the NHS. 

"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."

Work started back in 1991 on this method of treatment, which was originally carried out in a bid to tackle certain forms of cancer. 

Director for Policy & Research at the MS Society Nick Rijke also welcomed the Nice authorisation of this drug. He applauded the scientists at the university for all their hard work in making this drug a reality.  

"While it's not without risk, it's proven to be a highly effective medicine for people with relapsing remitting MS and we look forward to seeing it made available to those who could benefit," he said. 

MS is a neurological disease that adversely affects the nerves in the brain and the spinal cord. This can lead to a catalogue of issues, such as problems with muscle movement, balance and vision. 

It is thought as many as 100,000 people have the condition in the UK and there is currently no known cure, although a range of treatments and drugs exist to mitigate the symptoms. 

Read about Barchester expertise in offering multiple sclerosis support.