New life-extending treatment offers hope to Rugby kidney cancer patients

“Advanced kidney cancer has a devastating impact on those affected and their loved ones”
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A Rugby man with kidney cancer could see his life extended with the announcement of a new treatment that slows the progression of the disease and may improve quality of life.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended cabozantinib in combination with nivolumab as a first-line therapy for untreated advanced renal cell carcinoma in adults.

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Ipsen’s announcement indicated that the progression of the disease could be slowed, meaning that lives could be extended, helping people like Hugh Thornton, 80, and thousands of patients in the UK.

Hugh Thornton.Hugh Thornton.
Hugh Thornton.

Hugh first went to the doctor in 2018 after urinating blood, thinking it was an infection. A tumour was found on one of his kidneys and he had the kidney removed in the same year

A scan found tumours in his lungs and he was told surgery would not be possible.

Towards the end of 2020, he started slurring his speech and feeling unsteady on his feet. He initially put it down to recent bouts of poor sleep, but it kept getting worse.

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A brain scan in 2021 revealed he had a tumour in his brainstem that couldn’t be operated on – as any operation would kill or paralyse him.

This cancer diagnosis was harder to take, made worse by being asked to surrender his driving licence with immediate effect. He had driven to his appointment, so had to ask a friend to collect his car from the hospital.

A course of radiotherapy halved the size of his brainstem tumour a year later.

Hugh is now working hard to get his driving licence re-instated.

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Three years on, his tumour has not caused him to blackout or have a seizure to date

Dr John McGrane, Consultant Oncologist at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust: “The availability of cabozantinib in combination with nivolumab represents a step-change in the management of advanced kidney cancer and a valuable addition to the treatment options available. Access to this treatment combination could provide valuable additional time for people living with advanced RCC in England and Wales.

“Until now, people living with advanced kidney cancer in the UK have only been able to access cabozantinib in combination with nivolumab as a first-line treatment if they live in Scotland, where it was approved for use by the Scottish Medicines Consortium in 2021. This treatment combination was also approved for use in Northern Ireland in 2021 for the same indication.”

“Advanced kidney cancer has a devastating impact on those affected and their loved ones,” said Malcolm Packer, CEO, Kidney Cancer UK.

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“We are delighted that there will now be an additional treatment option available that will provide hope for many people living with advanced renal cell carcinoma.”

Rose Woodward, co-founder of Action Kidney Cancer, commented: "This approval is welcome news for the kidney cancer community.

"It is vitally important that we continue to support and recognise the needs of patients living with this often under-recognised cancer in England and Wales."

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