Glofitamab approved for aggressive B-cell lymphoma treatment

A new new treatment option for Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), an aggressive type of blood cancer, has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Glofitamab (also called Columvi®) is to be made available for patients with previously treated DLBCL - a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that develops in the glands.

The treatment will be made available within weeks for patients who have had two or more cancer treatments that have not been fully effective in eliminating their cancer, such as the case of one patient who is now in remission and able to walk again after being reliant on a wheelchair before treatment.

Around 5,500 people are diagnosed with this type of cancer in England each year which mainly affects men aged 65 and over, with the most common symptom being painless swellings of the glands.

NHS England will use the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) to provide fast-tracked access to the treatment ahead of its future funding from routine commissioning.

NHS England’s Cancer Drug’s Fund Lead, Professor Peter Clark, said:

“The approval of this drug is great news for people living with an advanced and aggressive form of blood cancer, who are set to benefit from this new treatment.

“Not only does it provide a potentially life-saving option for patients who may have not responded to CAR T therapy, it is also an alternative for some CAR T eligible patients who choose instead to have glofitamab closer to home."

Dr Wendy Osborne, an NHS consultant haematologist specialising in lymphoma at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, said:

“Bispecific antibodies use the patient’s own white blood cells to attack and kill the lymphoma, a form of blood cancer. The antibody has two arms. One arm attaches to the cancer cell and the other to the patient’s own white blood cell, a T-cell. By bringing these cells together, the patient’s own immune system is activated and kills the cancer cell and so chemotherapy is not required. Patients don’t have the side effects of chemotherapy and often feel well on this outpatient-based treatment.”