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NICE to consider Vidaza appeal

A ruling that denies NHS patients in England and Wales a treatment for life-threatening bone marrow diseases is to be contested by cancer groups.

Vidaza, which costs £45,000 per person and gives people with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) an average of nine months extra to live, is too costly, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) decided.

MDS inhibits the bone marrow's ability to produce different types of blood cells, with most sufferers needing regular transfusions to stay alive.

The average survival time of patients with the condition is 20 months. Nearly a third of patients progress to acute myeloid leukaemia, an aggressive form of leukaemia.

The appeal against the ruling will be lodged by the MDS UK Patient Support Group, the Leukaemia Society and the Rarer Cancers Forum, with drug manufacturer Celgene also throwing its weight behind the campaign.

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