Revolutionary cystic fibrosis treatment approved in NI, will be available in a matter of weeks

  • An agreement has been reached to supply NI with the recently announced cystic fibrosis breakthrough drugs that can effectively treat the condition in 90% of patients.

    News of a revolutionary new treatment for cystic fibrosis emerged recently following successful trials around the world, with trial partners including Queen's University Belfast. The treatment is a combination of three drugs that has been shown to effectively treat around 90% of those with the condition, and has been hailed as a breakthrough for sufferers.

    Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects over 10,000 people in the UK alone and is caused by a mutation to the gene controlling a certain protein. The condition is marked by mucus buildup in the lungs but a similar process also does damage to the internal organs in sufferers, reducing the life spans of those with the disease to an average of 37. Existing treatments can manage the lung symptoms but don't treat the underlying problem.

    The new treatment is a combination of three drugs that addresses the underlying problem with the disabled protein, and have been shown to dramatically improve lung function in randomised controlled trials. It works for those with the most common form of the genetic mutation that causes the condition, which is around 90% of sufferers.

    The treatment was developed by Vertex Pharmaceuticals and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration recently, but it's extremely expensive under the US medical insurance based system and there was no word on whether the treatment would be made available in Northern Ireland on the NHS.

    Belfast Telegraph is now reporting that an agreement has been reached with Vertex Pharmaceuticals to supply the drug to patients in Northern Ireland. The drugs will be available in a matter of weeks via the NHS, and will be reportedly supplied at price similar to the cost charged to NHS England. It's estimated that around 270 NI patients will be eligible to receieve treatment under the current agreement with Vertex.

    Source: Belfast Telegraph

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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