The Brain Tumour Charity submits DCVax®-L consultation response

Thursday 9 August 2018

This week The Charity submitted its patient organisation consultation response about the potentially-groundbreaking new treatment DCVax®-L.

This response will contribute towards the National Institute for health and Care Excellence's (NICE) technology appraisal of the innovative dendritic cell treatment..

You may remember that DCVax®-L hit the headlines back in May 2018, when a clinical trial testing its effectiveness showed increased overall survival for patients with glioblastoma.

The treatment, developed by Northwest Biotherapeutics, underwent testing in a phase 3 clinical trial which consisted of 331 individuals with a glioblastoma.

Interim results showed increased overall survival for patients with the majority of trial participants (86.4%) receiving the treatment.

Specifically, patients who received DCVax®-L showed an increased median overall survival rate of 23.1 months compared to a median overall survival rate between 15-17 months for patients receiving only the current standard of treatment.

So how does this treatment work?

The dendritic cell treatment is a personalised immune therapy made from each patient's own dendritic cells.

Dendritic cells are a type of immune cell that function to help the body's immune system recognise and attack tumour cells.

What are technology appraisals?

NICE is the official regulatory body responsible for the assessment of new treatments, providing national guidance and advice to improve health and social care in England.

DCVax®-L is currently undergoing a technology appraisal by NICE where the treatment's efficacy against glioblastomas is assessed.

As part of this appraisal, the treatment's cost effectiveness is also calculated.

NICE will measure whether or not the treatment represents better value for money than other treatments that would be neglected if the expenditure took place.

If DCVax®-L is approved by NICE, then the NHS is legally obligated to make the treatment available within three months.

Consultation process

The Charity was asked to feed into the appraisal process as a consultee for DCVax®-L. We talked to patients diagnosed with a glioblastoma, carers, as well as patients who have received the treatment and then used our community's views to form The Charity's consultation response.

Those we asked unanimously reported an unmet need of treatments available on the NHS for patients diagnosed with a glioblastoma.

The people we talked to who have already received the treatment emphasised its promising effect on their quality of life.

Many patients noted little or next-to-no side-effects.

Others positively highlighted DCVax®-L as a treatment that works alongside a patient's immune system as opposed to the weakening of it by the current standard of treatment for glioblastomas.

The Charity will now form part of a NICE appraisal committee in early November where researchers, clinicians, patient representatives and relevant bodies will be brought together to discuss the treatment's suitability for uptake.

The Brain Tumour Charity

Our community is at the heart of everything we do and we continue to support everyone impacted by a brain tumour

Here at The Brain Tumour Charity we will fight to ensure our community have access to the best treatment and care available, and we want to thank everyone who fed into this consultation.

NICE's appraisal of the treatment represents another progressive stepping stone on the way to equal access to the best treatment and care for patients with a brain tumour and their families.

We look forward to being part of the committee in November and will continue to feed into the overall process to ensure promising treatments are made available for those who need it most.