The mum of much-missed youngster Bradley Lowery is celebrating a campaign win after a life-saving cancer treatment was approved for use on the NHS.
Gemma Lowery met then Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in May to appeal for dinutuximab beta to be made available on the NHS.
She credits the antibody treatment with extending the life of Bradley, who received it while he was battling neuroblastoma.
Gemma has since battled to make it available on the NHS, and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has now recommended that it should be used to treat children with the disease on the NHS.
It is the first targeted cancer immunotherapy approved for use on the NHS to treat neuroblastoma.
Gemma said: “I am absolutely over the moon with this news, and it has released so much stress for families.
In my mind, this drug got Bradley into remission the first time roundGemma Lowery
“To see the joy on their faces, knowing they don’t have to worry about fundraising to receive this treatment, is incredible.
“It gives families a hope that their child will not relapse, and where there is hope, there is fight and life.
“I am a very big advocate because Bradley had it in front-line treatment.
“In my mind, this drug got Bradley into remission the first time round.
“That enabled us to have 18 months of happy memories with Bradley.
“He relapsed, but that doesn’t mean that the other children who receive this treatment will.”
Bradley, from Blackhall, died aged six last July after a battle with neuroblastoma.
Figures released by the European Medicines Agency show that about 65% of neuroblastoma patients who receive dinutuximab beta treatment will survive beyond five years, compared to 50% without it.
An agreement has been reached with pharmaceutical company EUSA Pharma for the drug to be made available to the NHS, and it will be given to patients aged 12 months or over whose disease has at least partially responded to first stage chemotherapy.
Meindert Boysen, director for the NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said: “It is an important treatment option for children and young people with high-risk neuroblastoma in particular, and has shown the potential to increase their survival. We welcome this new and effective treatment option.”
Interim guidance from NICE had previously said the drug was too expensive and not cost-effective enough.