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All news

Find out the latest news about JDRF's research and fundraising events.

Displaying lucentis

04
Jan

NICE says ‘yes’ to Lucentis

Draft guidance published today shows that ranibizumab (Lucentis) should now become available on the NHS for some people with Diabetic Macular Oedema.

NICE initially rejected Lucentis as a treatment for diabetic eye disease on cost effectiveness grounds in guidance published in November 2011. Since then, the drug’s manufacturer, Novartis, has agreed a Patient Access Scheme reducing the cost of the treatment to the NHS. Novartis also submitted further information showing the treatment’s effectiveness in a particular group of patients.

NICE’s decision follows hot on the heels of a similar decision taken by NHS Scotland in December.

Rachel Connor, Head of Research Communication at JDRF, says:

‘This is good news for people with diabetes in England and Wales. JDRF was involved in the early phases of developing ranibizumab, which provides a new option for treating diabetic retinopathy, and so it’s great that this investment will now be able to benefit people living with type 1 diabetes in the UK.’ 

13
Dec

JDRF welcomes improved access to Lucentis in Scotland

Today the Scottish Medicines Consortium approved Lucentis® (ranibizumab), the first medicine licensed to treat visual impairment due to Diabetic Macular Oedema, for restricted use within NHS Scotland.

This decision puts Scotland ahead of the rest of the UK in granting access to Lucentis. The makers of the drug, Novartis, estimate that the decision means that approximately 4000 people living with Diabetic Macular Oedema in Scotland will now be eligible to benefit from the treatment.

Novartis has worked with the Scottish Medicines Consortium to put in place a Patient Access scheme that helps to ensure the new treatment meets cost effectiveness criteria set by NHS Scotland.

Rachel Connor, Head of Research Communication at JDRF comments:

‘JDRF is delighted that the Patient Access Scheme for Lucentis means that people living with Diabetic Macular Oedema in Scotland may now be eligible to access to this innovative treatment. Lucentis is a new tool, which JDRF helped to develop, for clinicians working with people with diabetes.  It has the potential to not only prevent further vision loss, but also repair some of the damage that has already occurred.’

27
Sep

Behind the headlines: Eye clinics can’t cope with demand for sight saving drugs

You may have seen reports in the newspapers this week that eye clinics cannot cope with demand for sight saving drugs.

The article refers to people with a condition called wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and states that they cannot get the drugs they need in time. As eye disease is a known complication of type 1 diabetes, does this have any implications for people with type 1?

Thankfully, no. Wet AMD is caused when blood vessels in the eye leak and affect vision. In this way it is similar to diabetic eye disease, but wet AMD progresses much, much faster.

For wet AMD there is a really short window of a few weeks where people need to be treated if their doctors are to prevent vision loss. The drugs used to treat wet AMD are similar to those used to treat diabetic eye disease, so you may see Avastin or Lucentis mentioned in articles about this subject. But in wet AMD, these drugs are only effective in the very short time before scar tissue has built up. The problem highlighted in press reports this week is that eye clinics have a backlog of people waiting to be seen so some people are not getting the drugs in time.

Because diabetic eye disease develops much more slowly than wet AMD, there are signs that it is developing years before any vision problems occur. Because the window in which treatment can begin is much larger for people with type 1, the backlog issues that some clinics are experiencing should not significantly affect the care of people with type 1.

Diabetic eye disease can develop in people who have had type 1 for a long time. The risk of developing eye disease is linked to the difficulty in controlling blood glucose levels, because prolonged periods of high blood glucose leads to damage to the small blood vessels in the eye. The risk of developing long term complications of living with type 1 is falling as our understanding of how to control glucose levels in the body grows, but as people with type 1 can still develop these complications JDRF is committed to developing new treatments specifically for these long term complications of type 1, through our ‘treat’ research pathway.

05
Jan

NICE dismiss joint appeal for Lucentis

Last week we were disappointed to learn that NICE dismissed our joint appeal encouraging them to reconsider their decision not to recommend Lucentis for the treatment of Diabetic Macular Oedema through the NHS. Working together with Diabetes UK, the Macular Disease Society (MDS) and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) we have been campaigning for the potentially sight-saving drug to be made available for people with diabetic macular oedema (DMO) after NICE initially turned down an appeal for it to be used on the NHS.

At least 50,000 people in the UK are affected by DMO.Traditionally, laser treatment has been the standard treatment for the condition on the NHS, yet this only stops vision from deteriorating further. Lucentis, given in the form of an injection in the eye, however, is the first licensed treatment to improve vision in people with sight loss due to DMO.

Together with the other three charities, we are now urging the manufacturer of Lucentis, Novartis, to rapidly develop a Patient Access Scheme with the Department of Health and NICE in order to reduce the cost of this treatment to the NHS and ensure the maximum number of people with DMO can benefit from the treatment without delay.

29
Jul

Charities work together to appeal NICE’s decision and save sight

Together with four other UK charities, JDRF has today launched an appeal against a NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) decision not to recommend the drug Lucentis for treatment of Diabetic Macular Oedema (DMO) on the NHS. 

Current research indicates that ranibizumab (marketed as Lucentis) is highly effective in treating DMO and, significantly, that it meets an unmet need for patients who do not respond well to the current standard laser treatment.

JDRF supported the early development of Lucentis through our Innovative Grant programme. Further collaboration with Genentech, a biotech company based in San Francisco, and Johns Hopkins Medical School, enabled clinical research to help reveal the full therapeutic benefit of the drug for people with type 1 diabetes.

JDRF is working together with Diabetes UK, Macular Disease Society and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to put together an appeal to encourage NICE, the Department of Health and the drug manufacturer to ensure the drug is available to patients with Diabetic Macular Oedema on the NHS.

The charities are also urging the drug manufacturer, the Department of Health and NICE to reconsider the option of a Patient Access Scheme so that a maximum number of patients can benefit from this new sight saving treatment.

The drug offers a real step change from the currently available laser treatment. It prevents further sight loss and in many cases even improves vision. We understand that NICE must consider the cost effectiveness of any new drug. But the impact of blindness is such that NICE, the Department of Health and the drug manufacturer must work together to find a solution that prevents people losing their sight when a licensed and effective treatment is available.

Join in with the campaign
Why not join us in making a noise about NICE’s decision and how it will impact you? We need help from all people affected by type 1 diabetes and Diabetic Macular Odeoma to spread the word about out appeal in a bid to get NICE to reconsider their decision.

You can show your support by following the conversations on Twitter @JDRFUK today and tweeting your comments and using the hashtag #lucentis.

If you don’t use Twitter, become our friend by searching for JDRF UK on Facebook and join the conversation that way.

15
Jul

NICE decide Lucentis is not an effective use of NHS resources

A new treatment for visual impairment caused by diabetic macular oedema (DMO) has this week been added to the list of medicines that are not considered an ‘effective use of NHS resources’. NICE has concluded that it does not recommend Lucentis® (ranibizumab) for use within the NHS in England and Wales for the treatment of visual impairment due to Diabetic Macular Oedema (DMO).

JDRF believes it is vital that patients with diabetic macular oedema receive safe and effective treatments for their condition. This is why we supported the early development of Lucentis through our Innovative Grant programme. Further collaboration with Genentech, a biotech company based in San Francisco, and Johns Hopkins Medical School, enabled clinical research to help reveal the full therapeutic benefit of the drug for people with type 1 diabetes.

DMO is caused by swelling in the centre of the retina – the light-sensitive area at the back of the eye that provides detailed vision. The swelling results from damage to small blood vessels caused by years of elevated blood sugar levels, which –even with the best possible treatment – are hard to avoid entirely when living with type 1 diabetes.

The standard treatment for DMO has been the same for the last 25 years – laser treatment to destroy areas of abnormal blood vessel growth at the back of the eye. However this treatment does not improve vision, it only slows the progression of the condition.

Therefore the decision by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to not recommend the drug ranibizumab (marketed as Lucentis) for use within the NHS to treat DMO is disappointing. Current research indicates that ranibizumab is highly effective in treating DMO and, significantly, that it meets an unmet need for patients who do not respond well to the current standard laser treatment.

Lucentis has been approved in the USA for the treatment of DMO, and is also approved in Europe for treating another eye condition, wet age-related macular degeneration. The fact that ranibizumab has not been NICE approved for the treatment of visual impairment caused by diabetic macular oedema means that clinicians may be forced to turn to unlicensed and therefore untested alternatives, putting patients’ sight at risk. 

If left untreated, diabetic macular oedema can lead to vision loss. The condition affects approximately 28% of people who have had diabetes for at least 20 years. The standard treatment of this condition has been the same for the last 25 years – laser treatment to destroy areas of abnormal blood vessel growth at the back of the eye. However, despite reducing the progression of the condition, this treatment does not improve vision.

JDRF campaigns to raise awareness of type 1 diabetes, informing key decision makers about the issues people living with the condition face. If you haven't already, get involved with JDRF's 1 Campaign. Together we can lobby the Government to invest more money in medical research and to improve access to treatments.