8 November, 2022.

NHS strikes deal for potentially life-saving breast cancer drug

The NHS will roll out an innovative, potentially life-saving treatment for one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer thanks to a new drug deal.

Up to 1,600 women a year affected by high risk triple-negative breast cancer are set to benefit from the confidential deal struck by the NHS and the manufacturer.

Pembrolizumab (brand name, Keytruda®), used in combination with chemotherapy, reduces the chances of breast cancer progressing by almost two fifths.

The drug works by stimulating the body’s immune system to fight the cancer cells – it targets and blocks a specific protein on the surface of certain immune cells which then seek out and destroy the cancerous cells.

Delivered directly into the bloodstream every three to six weeks for around one year, the treatment will be funded immediately by the NHS to give access to eligible patients.

Triple-negative breast cancer affects around 8,000 women a year – accounting for 15% of all breast cancer cases.

It is challenging to treat with a shorter survival time than most other breast cancers and disproportionately affects women under 40 and those from black backgrounds.

This will be the 25th breast cancer treatment fast-tracked to patients through funding from the Cancer Drugs Fund and the second treatment for triple negative breast cancer to be introduced this year on the NHS.

Read the full story here: NHS England » NHS strikes deal for potentially life-saving breast cancer drug