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New drug for patients with aggressive leukaemia in Scotland

Midostaurin – known by its brand name Rydapt – will be available for people whose form of the cancer carries a genetic mutation.

A drug that reduces the chances of relapse for people with an aggressive type of leukaemia is to be made available in Scotland.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) announced on Monday that doctors can use midostaurin – known by its brand name Rydapt – to treat patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

Around a third of those with the condition have a cancer which carries a genetic mutation, giving them a poorer chance of survival, but will now be able to get the drug through NHS Scotland.

More than half of patients on a trial initially treated with Rydapt were alive four years after beginning chemotherapy, compared to 44% of patients who underwent the treatment alone.

It has also been approved by the SMC for use as a “maintenance treatment” after patients finish intensive chemotherapy, which has been shown to reduce the risk of relapse.

Dr Alasdair Rankin, director of research and patient experience at cancer charity Bloodwise, said: “Today’s announcement is hugely positive news for people in Scotland who are diagnosed with this particular type of AML.

“Midostaurin has been shown to have minimal side effects and offers the reassurance to patients that everything possible is being done to reduce their chances of the disease coming back.”

Around 200 people are diagnosed with AML each year in Scotland.

While younger patients have a better outlook, overall less than one in five patients survive for more than five years after diagnosis.

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