A drug that could improve the quality of life of hundreds of women with womb cancer will be rolled out on the NHS across England from Tuesday.

Dostarlimab, also known as Jemperli, is an immunotherapy that works by attracting specific proteins on the surface of cancer cells to help the immune system attack them.

It will be rolled out by NHS England after receiving approval by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) in 2022. Up to 200 patients will be eligible each year.

Evidence suggests the drug extends life expectancy when used alongside chemotherapy. It is a monoclonal antibody that is administered by a drip over half an hour under the supervision of a doctor in each treatment.

There are 9,700 new cases and 2,400 deaths due to womb-related cancers each year across the UK, according to Cancer Research. The two most common forms are endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma.

In clinical trials, 64% of patients receiving Jemperli and chemotherapy did not see their cancer worsen after a year of treatment. The figure was more than twice the rate seen with chemotherapy alone, which was just 24%.

Dostarlimab was authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in October as a medicine that can be used with chemotherapy to slow the progression of womb cancers and increase a patient’s life expectancy.

It is the first medicine licensed by the MHRA as a first-line treatment for primary advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer.

Its most common side-effects are underactive thyroid glands, skin rashes, dry skin, high temperature or fever, and increased liver enzyme levels in the blood.

Prof Peter Clark, NHS England’s cancer drugs fund (CDF) lead, said: “The rollout of this drug as a first-line treatment on the NHS is great news for patients living with this type of womb cancer – this new immunotherapy could offer hundreds of women the hope of precious extra time to live well before their cancer progresses.”

Helen Knight, the director of medicines evaluation at Nice, said: “Advanced or recurrent womb cancer has a devastating effect on quality of life and there are limited treatment options available.

“We are focused on delivering what matters most and getting care to those who need it fast, so I am delighted this treatment option will be made quickly available through the CDF, enabling people with this type of cancer to enjoy more precious time with their families and loved ones.”

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