Suffolk patients to be among first to get ‘game changer’ new drug

Cystic fibrosis sufferer Sammie Read, of Mendlesham, was one of the first in the UK to test and bene

Cystic fibrosis sufferer Sammie Read, of Mendlesham, was one of the first in the UK to test and benefit from the revolutionary drug Kaftrio. Picture: SAMMIE READ - Credit: Archant

Suffolk cystic fibrosis sufferer Sammie Read has welcomed news that people with the condition in the county are set to be amongst the first in the UK to begin receiving a game-changing new drug.

Kaftrio – known also as the ‘triple combination therapy’ – was approved by European regulators on Friday, and patients in England will be among the first to try it.

The Royal Papworth Hospital, based in Cambridge, has a specialist adult cystic fibrosis centre and treats more than 350 adult cystic fibrosis patients from across East Anglia, including Suffolk.

The hospital says it will be helping its patients in the county access the drug as soon as possible now the drug has finally been approved.

One of those who has already benefitted is Sammie Read, from Mendlesham, who took part in trials of the drug earlier this year.

She said: “I have been on it since May. It’s made a remarkable difference. It feels like I have reversed 15 years.”

Ms Read said she was pleased that the drug would now be able to help others like her: “What a massive impact it is going to have on people’s lives.”

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Dr Uta Hill, lead clinician for cystic fibrosis at Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are absolutely overjoyed at this amazing news for our patients.

“We believe that this will mark a game-changer for people with cystic fibrosis as it will dramatically improve their quality of life and prognosis.

“There will be some patients who may not yet be eligible for such treatments, however there is ongoing research and clinical trials which will ensure that these patients will also benefit from therapies in the future.”

“The CF team here at Royal Papworth Hospital is committed to getting Kaftrio to all of our eligible patients across the East of England as quickly as possible,” added consultant respiratory physician Dr Helen Barker.

“There is a lot of work to do but please rest assured we are already well under way with the process and although we cannot prescribe immediately, we hope to be able to do so in the coming weeks.”

Cystic fibrosis is an incurable genetic condition where the lungs become clogged with thick, sticky mucus which leads to blockages, inflammation, increased risk of infection and poor digestion.

The drug treats the underlying causes of cystic fibrosis, by increasing the number of proteins and making them more active, thereby relieving symptoms.

Some people who are already on the treatment have seen life-changing benefits including increased lung function and increasing activity level. Some patients have even managed to no longer need a lung transplant.

As with any drug, there are side effects for some who take Kaftrio and not everyone is eligible.

MORE: How this revolutionary drug is helping mum Sammie see milestones she thought she might miss