Funding Breakthrough in GIST Cancer Treatment

Good news reported in a release by GIST Support UK:


Today GIST Support UK, the key charity specifically focused on combating GIST  (gastrointestinal stromal tumour), celebrated the NICE decision to approve regorafenib, a life extending drug, as a third line treatment for GIST cancer patients in England, ensuring that they have access to the same key drug as provided to patients in Scotland and Wales.

Nic Puntis & Jayne Bressington (on behalf of GIST Support UK) said:

“We welcome the NICE decision to recommend access to regorafenib as it offers greater long-term treatment options for patients with GIST.  Importantly, GIST patients in England will now have routine access to this important treatment, joining patients currently living in Scotland and Wales.

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to review and approve regorafenib.”

GIST (Gastro-Intestinal Stromal Tumour) is a rare form of cancer which does not respond to the more usual cancer treatments of radio- or chemotherapy. Before the introduction of specialist drugs, the only recourse was surgery. With the more recent introduction of TKI drugs (ie, Tyrosine-kinase inhibitors), options improved.

The first line of treatment, which I have been on for three years now, before and after surgery last February, is imatinib (UK trade name Glivec. However, this is not effective for all varieties of GIST, and even where it is effective, there often comes a point where it is no longer so. In such cases, the second line of treatment is a drug called sunitinib (trade name Sutent). Where this too is not effective, or loses its effectiveness, the third line of treatment is regorafenib.

Until now, only the first two, imatinib and sunitinib, were approved for NHS funding in England under NICE rules.  Regorafenib has been available only under the special arrangements of the cancer drugs fund (and even that was achieved only after intensive lobbying by GIST Support UK).

Today’s welcome news means that in future, this life-saving drug will be more securely available.

Related Posts

GIST Support UK: Cardiff Conference

GIST and Imatinib in the News

One year on from GIST surgery: (1) Diagnosis and early treatment

One year on from GIST surgery: (2) Surgery


The Guardian view on Jeremy Hunt: he must practise what he preaches | Editorial

“Just how easy is it to speak about things that have gone wrong?”, asked health secretary Jeremy Hunt in a speech he made last year about improving transparency and ending the blame culture in the NHS.

Mr Hunt is himself failing badly on this critical benchmark for greater openness. The Guardian this week has revealed that half a million pieces of medical correspondence, including test results and diagnoses for life-threatening conditions like cancer, sat undelivered in a warehouse between 2011 and 2016. Yet it has taken almost a year for the full extent of this failure to emerge.

Mr Hunt was first made aware of the problem in March last year. But he did not inform MPs until July last year, in a 138-word written statement that mentioned neither the scale of the problem nor the potential harm to patients. The incident was confined to a single paragraph buried in the Department of Health’s annual report. While it appears a team was set up in early summer 2016 to look into the problem, much of the undelivered correspondence did not arrive at the GP surgeries of affected patients until November and December last year. No explanation has been offered for why it has taken nine months from Mr Hunt being informed to urgent correspondence finding its way to patients and their doctors. The idea that letters containing test results and diagnoses for life-threatening conditions can go missing for years is a frightening prospect for any NHS patient. According to the government, 500 patients may have suffered serious harm as a result of the missing correspondence.

Source: The Guardian