CAR T-cell therapy
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NICE has recommended Yescarta as the first CAR T-cell therapy for the treatment of lymphoma


Gilead Sciences and Kite have announced that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel), a CAR T-cell therapy, for the treatment of certain forms of lymphoma in some adults. 

Yescarta is a CD19-directed genetically modified autologous T-cell immunotherapy and is the first chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy recommended for routine commissioning in the NHS in England. This treatment is now specifically recommended for adult patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) or primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL) who have already been treated with two or more systemic therapies. This marks the first time that eligible patients will be able to access CAR-T cell therapy in the long term. 

During a period where long-term data was collected, Yescarta was previously available to some through the NHS via the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) in 2018, making England the first European country to provide access to CAR-T cell treatment for blood cancers. NICE has now announced that the treatment will be commissioned routinely for patients in England after the NHS Commercial Medicines Directorate agreed on a confidential commercial deal with the company after considering new evidence and outcomes from patients receiving the treatment through the CDF.  

DLBCL and PMBCL are aggressive forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in which 45% of DLBCL patients will require a second line treatment, involving high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplant. Moreover, 50% will often relapse, showing the need for effective third line treatment. CAR-T cell therapy is an individualised treatment for patients that engineers a patient’s own immune cells to target, attach to, and destroy cancer cells, and the recommendation of Yescarta presents an exciting opportunity in the development of therapies for cancer.  

Dr Graham Collins, consultant haematologist at Oxford University Hospital NHS Foundation trust, stated: “Today’s news is encouraging as it shows that even in the real-world setting these therapies are living up to their expectations for patients with aggressive forms of lymphoma”. Helen Knight, director of medicines evaluation at NICE, further stated: “The evidence from its use in the CDF and clinical trials shows it can offer an effective treatment, helping people live longer and with a better quality of life”.  


  1. NICE recommends first CAR-T cell therapy on NHS in England. Pharmaphorum. Accessed 30th January 2023. 
  1. Gilead’s CAR-T cell therapy recommended by NICE for lymphoma. PMLive. Accessed 30th January 2023 

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