AA Gill, a restaurant critic for the Sunday Times, died of lung cancer on Saturday at the age of 62. Gill wrote a final article in the Sunday Times, berating the National Health Service (NHS), after not being able to receive a life-extending drug as it was not available.
Gill’s oncologist recommended immunotherapy, however, it was not available on the NHS. Immunotherapy would mean using a drug, nivolumab, to considerably extend one’s life. The treatment would cost between £60,000 to £100,000 a year for a lung cancer patient, about four times the cost of chemotherapy.
What is Nivolumab?
Nivolumab is a form of immunotherapy that activates the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells.
The drug works by blocking chemical signals that cancers use to trick the immune system into thinking they are healthy tissue.
Nivolumab is administered to patients through a drip.
The drug is available on the NHS in Scotland, however, it is under review in England and thus not available.
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