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Monday 18 February 2019 14:31 (GMT)
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With Dean Kayne

Hornchurch and Upminster MP Julia Lopez asks Theresa May to back funding for Neuroblastoma treatment

Julia Lopez has asked the Prime Minister to support the funding of a neuroblastoma treatment on the NHS.

The MP for Hornchurch and Upminster brought up local three-year-old girl Isla Caton, who has the deadly childhood cancer and is currently fundraising to receive care in the US.

Isla’s family used social media to raise awareness of her condition and celebrities including James Corden have helped support their fundraising appeal.

Isla pictured with her mum Nicola

Julia Lopez MP brought it up at Prime Minister’s Questions today, ahead of a decision being made this month on funding for a treatment.

She wants the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which provides guidance on healthcare in England, to allow the use of Dinutuximab beta here.

The drug increases the rate of survival and the length of time it takes for the disease to progresses.

Isla is currently in the US receiving treatment

Mrs Lopez asked: “Will the Prime Minister encourage NICE and drugs companies to do a deal to provide new treatments for children in Britain, instead of families fundraising to receive such treatments in America?”

Mrs May replied: “NICE is developing guidelines for the NHS on the use of Dinutuximab Beta … for the treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma and it’s not been able to recommend the drug as a clinically and cost-effective use of resources in its draft guidance but it has consulted stakeholders on its draft recommendations.

“It is an ongoing NICE appraisal. It is not for Government to intervene in that but they will take all the comments that are made into account when they make the final guidance.”

In a consultation report, NICE said: “There is substantial uncertainty about its long-term benefits, which has a large impact on the cost-effectiveness estimates.

“Dinutuximab beta does not meet NICE’s criteria for a life-extending treatment at the end-of-life.”

NICE estimates that the drug costs £62,300 to £79,900 for each quality-adjusted life year (QALY), way above the amount it considers cost-effective.

Watch the full exchange below.

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