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Treatment for cutaneous T-cell lymphomas to be subsidised through broadened PBS listing

The Leukaemia Foundation welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement that the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listing of brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris®) will be broadened to include treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphomas (CTCL) from 1 April 2019.

CTCL is a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that directly attacks the body’s T-cells, a type of white blood cell. CTCL is a general term for T-cell lymphomas that involve the skin including the two most common types of CTCL, mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome, but CTCL can also involve the lymph nodes, blood and other internal organs. It is a rare condition affecting around 150 to 200 Australians each year, usually affecting people aged 40-60 years.

Treatment for CTCL involves either skin-directed therapies such as topical steroids and radiation therapy or systemic therapies including photopheresis, chemotherapy and stem cell transplants.

Adcetris® is an immunotherapy and chemotherapy combined into one medicine that targets and kills cancerous growths of T-cells.

Leukaemia Foundation CEO Bill Petch described the broadening of the PBS listing as a positive step for Australians living with CTCL.

“This announcement means more Australians affected by CTCL will have affordable access to the treatment they need to improve their quality of life,” he said.

“Without a PBS listing many people living with CTCL would simply not be able to afford this medicine.

“The Leukaemia Foundation’s priority is to ensure that all Australians living with blood cancer have access to the best therapies and treatments available.

“We want to ensure that all Australians living with a blood cancer have access to a wider range of treatment options, which will improve time spent in remission, resulting in a better quality of life and ultimately surviving their disease.”