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MPE has welcomed the news today that the European Commission has approved a marketing licence for Velcade to be used as a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection for myeloma patients.

Velcade was the first in a class of anti-cancer drugs called proteasome inhibitors to be used in myeloma. It was first licensed in Europe in an IV formulation and since then Velcade has had a significant impact on the treatment of myeloma.

Despite this impact, it can cause a number of potentially debilitating side-effects including peripheral neuropathy, a painful condition caused by damage to the nerves of the hands and feet.

In 2011, a study published in the journal Lancet Oncology by Prof Philippe Moreau and colleagues showed that Velcade given subcutaneously instead of intravenously was equally effective in treating the myeloma. Crucially however, subcutaneous injections of Velcade were associated with fewer and less severe side-effects, particularly peripheral neuropathy.

The results of this study subsequently formed the basis of the application to the European Commission to enable Velcade to be given subcutaneously.

Eric Low, on behalf of MPE said, “The decision by the European Commission to approve the use of subcutaneous Velcade in Europe is great news. It is important now that clinical practice across Europe changes in a timely and effective manner to ensure patients benefit from subcutaneous Velcade as soon as possible.”

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