Pembrolizumab is a humanised monoclonal antibody that acts on the programmed cell death protein-1 immune checkpoint receptor pathway, blocking its interaction with ligand on the tumour cells.
It was the first drug to be approved through the government’s Early Access to Medicine Scheme in March 2015. The scheme aims to help patients with life-threatening or seriously debilitating conditions benefit from promising, innovative treatments before a European licence has been granted.
Life sciences minister George Freeman said: ‘I am delighted MSD has decided to use the Early Access to Medicines Scheme to accelerate access for our NHS patients. The Accelerated Access Review will also make practical recommendations to increase the pace of getting innovative products to patients.’
NICE. Final appraisal determination. Pembrolizumab for treating advanced melanoma after disease progression with ipilimumab. September 2015