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NICE's report on the feasibility of appraising the use of bevacizumab (Avastin) to treat eye conditions

NICE has today (Monday 6 December 2010) published its findings after exploring the feasibility of advising the NHS on the clinical and cost effectiveness of bevacizumab (Avastin, Genentech/Roche) to treat wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in the UK, and other conditions affecting the eye. NICE was asked to undertake this work by the Department of Health, who also asked the NHS Health Technology Assessment programme to commission work to identify the existing and expected evidence on the use of bevacizumab in the eye. This work also fed into the NICE report.

The pre-scoping briefing report takes into account comments received from invited stakeholders, most of whom also attended a pre-scoping workshop at NICE in July 2010.

The main conclusion of the report is that there is support for an appraisal of intravitreal[1] bevacizumab for eye conditions. Stakeholders agreed that an appraisal would need to be conditional on, or incorporate the assessment of, the safety and quality of intravitreal bevacizumab by a regulatory body or through the involvement of regulatory expertise. Furthermore, arrangements for safety monitoring / pharmacovigilance[2] will need to be explored.

The report can be found on the NICE website on the Exploratory work of bevacizumab in eye conditions page.

The next step is for the Department of Health to decide whether or not to refer bevacizumab to NICE for consideration as part of its technology appraisal programme.

Ends

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Notes to editors

1. The report can be found on the NICE website on the Exploratory work of bevacizumab in eye conditions page.

2. Although NICE does not normally appraise drugs outside of their licensed indications it can happen at request of the Department of Health. For example, the Department of Health has previously asked NICE to look at off-label immunosuppressive drugs for renal transplantation in children and adolescents.

3. Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye condition that affects the macula (a tiny part of the retina at the back of the eye). AMD causes problems with central vision, but does not lead to total loss of sight and is not painful.

4. Macular degeneration is diagnosed as either dry (non-neovascular) or wet (neovascular). Neovascular refers to growth of new blood vessels in an area, such as the macula, where they are not supposed to be.

5. Bevacizumab works by stopping tumour growth by preventing the formation of new blood vessels. It does this by targeting and inhibiting the function of a natural protein called vascular endothelial growth factor that stimulates new blood vessel formation.

6. Bevacizumab is currently being used as a treatment for eye conditions by some NHS trusts as an alternative to ranibizumab (Lucentis), which is licensed for AMD and which NICE recommended for use in August 2008 (http://guidance.nice.org.uk/TA155).

About NICE

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance and standards on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health. NICE produces guidance in three areas of health:

  1. public health
  2. health technologies, and
  3. clinical practice

NICE also produces standards for patient care through its work on the Quality and Outcomes Framework and quality standards. With high quality health information collated through NHS Evidence, all of NICE's work is supported by its implementation programme.

Footnotes

[1] When drugs are administered through the eyes.

[2] This is the pharmacological science relating to the detection, assessment, understanding and prevention of adverse effects, particularly long term and short term side effects of medicines.

This page was last updated: 06 December 2010

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Accessibility | Cymraeg | Freedom of information | Vision Impaired | Contact Us | Glossary | Data protection | Copyright | Disclaimer | Terms and conditions

Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.