MP hails new life-enhancing cancer drug

Eric Ollerenshaw with Suggs
Eric Ollerenshaw with Suggs

Lancaster’s MP is celebrating after helping to make a life-extending cancer drug available on the NHS.

Eric Ollerenshaw said the confirmation that pancreatic cancer drug Abraxane has been confirmed for use on the NHS by the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), was “the first positive hope for helping treat this disease in years”.

Mr Ollerenshaw lost his partner to the disease in 2009, and has been campaigning alongside the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pancreatic Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer UK, Pancreatic Action and the Two more months’ campaign for Abraxane to be approved.

Mr Ollerenshaw said: “This is really good news. The decision demonstrates what is possible from a united front of The APPG on Pancreatic Cancer in Parliament, patient organizations, and friends and relatives of individuals lost early to this disease, who allowed their stories to be told publically in the Two more months’ campaign organised by Pancreatic Cancer UK.

“There is still so much more to do, but this is at least a start in England. I’d like to thank the Cancer Drugs Fund committee for making this possible,” Mr Ollerenshaw added.

Abraxane has been described as the biggest advance in pancreatic cancer treatment in almost two decades due to its life-prolonging effects.

The average life-expectancy of pancreatic cancer patients, once diagnosed, is less than six months but Abraxane provides an additional two months, on average, to a patient’s life-expectancy. Mr Ollerenshaw said the campaign will continue to push its case for the full approval of Abraxane on the NHS’s NICE list in order to see a complete rollout on the NHS.