Dermatology trial leads to approval for new treatment

13 June 2019

An international trial, which University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) were the leading recruiters to, has led to the first new drug for skin lymphoma treatment being approved in 18 years.

The Alcanza trial compared a new antibody therapy – brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris) – with the current standard treatments.

The results showed that Adcetris was better at stopping the form of skin cancer progressing, and also helped reduce the symptoms associated with skin lymphoma.

128 patients were recruited in total, with UHB the leading recruiter with 13 participants.

Professor Julia Scarisbrick, UHB Consultant Dermatologist and trial lead, ssaid: “The approval of Adcetris by both the European Medicines Agency and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is fantastic news, as patients across the UK and Europe will now be able to be treated with the new, more effective treatment option.

“The trial has been a real collaborative effort, and it’s great that the work of our international colleagues and UHB colleagues has had such strong results and seen Adcetris approved for CTCL patients.”

“CTCL often presents with red, scaly patches or thickened plaques and tumours growing in the skin, which can really affect patients’ self-esteem”.

Adcetris is now available for all patients with a specific type of skin lymphoma (CD30-positive cutaneous T-cell lymphoma) who have had at least one previous treatment.

CTC lymphoma develops from patches on the skin into tumours, and people with the condition usually live for several years after diagnosis.

However, previous research has indicated that diagnosis of CTCL can cause issues with psychological and physical wellbeing.

The trial saw patients given Adcetris or one of the standard treatments intravenously every three weeks, for a maximum of 48 weeks.

A summary of the Alcanza findings was published in the Lancet, and can be read here.