At last, a step forward for people with chronic graft vs host disease

December 20, 2023

Today we celebrate the news that a new treatment for chronic Graft Vs Host Disease has been approved the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Belumosudil will now be funded by the NHS in England and Wales, bringing access into line with Scotland where the treatment was approved earlier this year.

Graft Vs Host Disease (GvHD) is a potentially life-threatening condition that affects around half of donor stem cell transplant recipients. In most cases, GvHD resolves with time, but for up to a third of patients it can persist for months and years. Chronic GvHD can affect nearly every part of a patient’s body, including the skin, eyes, gut and lungs. Along with the damaging physical effects, people with chronic GvHD are often deeply psychologically impacted.

This new treatment has been approved for use in people whose GvHD doesn’t respond to other treatments, bringing a much-needed additional treatment option where precious few exist. We are incredibly grateful to the amazing patient advocates who worked with us to make the case for this treatment to be available, and everyone in our clinical community who shared their expertise and insight into GvHD with us.

While we are incredibly pleased, we also know that other treatment options for GvHD are still needed, and that there is still a postcode lottery when it comes to other innovative GvHD treatments in the UK. We’ll continue to work on behalf of patients and families to shine a light on the need for the NHS and pharmaceutical industry to collaborate to bring the UK into line with international best practise in the management of GvHD.

After my stem cell transplant in 2020, I developed chronic Graft vs Host Disease. The transplant, thanks to my donor, saved my life. What we need to sort out now are the late-effects such as chronic GvHD. Transplant patients should have access to every available medicine, and for more to be developed that can improve our lives.

Dan, 30, who was diagnosed with ALL