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New drug hope for sarcoma patients

A new treatment could be made more available to people who suffer with a rare form of cancer, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has announced.

Those who suffer with advanced soft tissue sarcoma could have their lives extended by at least three months with the drug trabectedin.

As part of a cost-cutting scheme, manufacturers PharmaMar has agreed to meet the cost of the drug if it is needed beyond a fifth cycle.

Around 2,000 people a year in the UK are diagnosed with the cancer which occurs in the muscles, nerves, fat or blood vessels.

The disease causes swelling that can put pressure on nearby  tissue and organs, including the lungs and bones.

The medicine works by changing the DNA in cancer cells and stops them spreading, therefore halting any secondary cancers.

Currently, between 500 and 600 people in England and Wales live with the cancer. Trabectedin will benefit around 110 patients a year who have failed on other treatments, at a cost of more than £3,500 a cycle.

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National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence