MS sufferers in UK to benefit from world's first drug
There’s good news for multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferers in the UK after a new drug treatment for the condition has been recommended for patients by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).
NICE has approved the use fingolimod – otherwise known by its brand name of Gilenya – and says it should be made available to thousands of patients through the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).
Fingolimod is the world’s first pill-based treatment for MS – up until now the market has been dominated by interferon injections.
The drug has been approved for use in patients with active cases of RRMS (relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis), as it is able to significantly reduce the occurrence of relapses, by 50-60 percent.
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It reportedly works by preventing the body’s immune system from attacking nerves in the brain and spinal cord.
NICE had previously ruled out the use of the drug on the NHS, saying that although it worked, it was too expensive.
But the pill’s manufacturer, Novartis, agreed to discount the price of fingolimod and now the NICE guidance is in its final form.
Prior to the discount, the drug was expected to cost somewhere in the region of £20,000 a year per patient.
Commenting on the news, Professor Carole Longson, the Director of the Health Technology Evaluation Centre at NICE said: “The latest draft guidance from our committee recommends the NHS-use of fingolimod for a specific group of adults who have highly active relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.
“Following new information provided during the consultation, the analyses show that for these people, treatment with fingolimod will be a cost effective option for the NHS in this group of people with multiple sclerosis, if Novartis provides the drug at a discounted price, as proposed in its patient access scheme.
“We have published the latest version of our draft guidance on our website so that interested parties can highlight any factual errors or appeal against our final draft recommendations.”
The MS Trust asks how can fingolimod (Gilenya) benefit MS sufferers?
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Dubai's new smart neuro spinal hospital: need to know
We take a look at Dubai's new smart hospital.
What: The Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre is a new hospital featuring state-of-the-art technology for spinal, neurosurgical, neurological, orthopaedic, radiosurgery and cancer treatments. The 700 million AED hospital, (equivalent to £138 million), has 114 beds, smart patient rooms, and green spaces for patient rehabilitation, and is four times the capacity of its former premises in Jumeirah. It is also the UAE’s first hospital to have surgical robots.
Where: The hospital is located in the Dubai Science Park. Founded in 2005, Dubai Science Park is home to more than 350 companies from multinational corporations in life sciences, biotechnology and research; over 4,000 people work here each day.
Who: The UAE's Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre was first established in Jumeirah in 2002 by Dr. Abdul Karim Msaddi, as the first as the first "super-specialty" neuroscience hospital.
Why: With advanced diagnosis and robotics, the hospital will provide care across neuroscience, spine, orthopaedics and oncology for people residing in the UAE, as well as international patients.
Prof. Abdul Karim Msaddi, Chairman and Medical Director of the hospital, said: “We are proud to bring world-class healthcare services to Dubai and believe our next-generation hospital will be a game-changer for the emirate’s and the region’s medical industry.
"It will not only significantly increase the availability of specialist neuroscience and radiosurgery treatments and provide better patient care but help attract and develop local and international talent. Investing in the new centre represents our continued faith in the resilience of the region’s economy, as well as a testament to our ongoing drive towards healthcare innovation in the UAE.”