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Innovative treatment for MS chosen for ‘rapid uptake’ across the NHS

Use of the drug Cladribine to treat MS is to be rapidly rolled out more widely across the NHS.

The treatment for MS has now been named as a ‘rapid uptake’ product to be made accessible to more patients through the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC), a partnership of NHS and health technology bodies which speeds up access to treatments that have proven clinical effectiveness but are yet to be made available for widespread use in the NHS.

Cladribine is traditionally used to treat leukaemia and lymphoma and is normally administered as an injection. UCLH and Barts ran clinical trials of the drug Cladribine as an oral treatment for highly active MS, and were early adopters of the treatment with around 30 MS patients at UCLH currently receiving the drug.

Researchers found Cladribine reduced relapses in MS. Unlike other MS treatments on the market, Cladribine tablets should speed up the treatment time for patients as they can be prescribed more widely and be safely taken at home. The drug also requires less monitoring by clinical teams, potentially reducing pressure on NHS services.

Cladribine tablets, developed and trialled within the UCLPartners footprint, which UCLH is part of, have already successfully treated over 200 patients but its availability to date has been limited, with around 25 specialist prescribing units in England able to prescribe the drug.

Dr Charlie Davie, Managing Director of UCLPartners, said: “We’re excited that this important MS treatment developed in our footprint, through our Academic Health Science Centre, will now receive dedicated support to ensure patients who could benefit from the drug are able to access it with ease.”