Drug U-turn wel­comed by can­cer sur­vivor

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

ACANCER sur­vivor has wel­comed a fund­ing U-turn for an in­no­va­tive medicine which saved her life.

Carol Jarvis, from Mac­cles­field, tried ev­ery treat­ment pos­si­ble to com­bat Hodgkin’s Lym­phoma be­fore be­ing told she would not sur­vive.

In a last ditch ef­fort to save her, she was al­lowed ac­cess to the drug Ad­cetris which took her into re­mis­sion.

More than a decade later the health reg­u­la­tor NICE has given hope to more pa­tients af­ter ap­prov­ing long-term fund­ing.

It fol­lowed a de­ci­sion to last year to re­ject use of the drug.

Carol, a pro­fes­sional trom­bon­ist who has played with music stars in­clud­ing Seal, Michael Bolton, One Di­rec­tion, Bon Jovi and Rod Ste­wart, said she owes her life to the drug.

She said: “Ad­cetris came along at ex­actly the right time for me. I had ex­hausted ev­ery pos­si­ble av­enue of treat­ment, which all failed.

“I had been told by my spe­cial­ists to get my head around the fact that I wasn’t go­ing to sur­vive, as noth­ing was work­ing and there was noth­ing left to try.

“Thank­fully I was treated at The Christie and my spe­cial­ist man­aged to get me on to Ad­cetris.

“It was the first drug to get me to re­mis­sion in seven years of try­ing every­thing else.”

Carol, now 39, later had a bone mar­row trans­plant and is fight­ing fit.

She said: “My lungs have mas­sively suf­fered from the years and years of treat­ments, es­pe­cially the ra­dio­ther­apy and hard-hit­ting stem cell and bone mar­row trans­plants, but I am back to do­ing what I love, and just en­joy­ing feel­ing nor­mal again.”

NICE has agreed to fund pa­tients where their dis­ease re­turns fol­low­ing an au­tol­o­gous stem cell trans­plant (ASCT) and fund­ing via the Can­cer Drug Fund (CDF) for pa­tients who have re­ceived two pre­vi­ous ther­a­pies but who are un­suit­able to re­ceive a stem cell trans­plant or other chemo­ther­apy.

How­ever, NICE has re­fused to fund pa­tients who are at high risk of their dis­ease re­turn­ing af­ter an ASCT.

Carol added: “It is essen­tial that drugs are al­ways avail­able for pa­tients. You sim­ply can­not put a price on life.

“I cer­tainly wouldn’t still be here if it hadn’t been for Ad­cetris, and every­one else who hap­pens to find them­selves in the po­si­tion I was in also de­serves that chance of life.”

Pro­fes­sional trom­bon­ist Carol Jarvis

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