New treatments may be available faster


People living in the UK could get faster access, through the country’s National Health Service (NHS), to what are described as ‘innovative’ new treatments following recommendations set out this week in the government’s Accelerated Access Review report, led by an independent chairman Sir Hugh Taylor.. This could include treatments for MS.

The move does not include existing medications, but is restricted to new, potential treatments that aren’t available yet but have shown promising results.

It is hoped that this could include treatments for multiple sclerosis but, in truth, no-one seems to know yet


Accelerated Access Review chairman Sir Hugh Taylor.

Under the new proposals, everyday people in patient representative groups will help choose which drugs should be included. They’ll work alongside health bodies and drug companies in a new partnership.

To choose treatments, together these groups will look at a range of criteria. This includes deciding which drugs are ‘transformative’ – meaning they have the potential to make the biggest impact.

Chosen treatments would then get greater support to make sure they are available sooner through the NHS.

It’s not yet clear whether or not future MS treatments will be chosen. It seems that is likely to depend on two things:

  • whether there are future MS treatments in the pipeline that could make a big impact on people’s health;
  • the final scope of any changes introduced after the Government has considered these proposals.

These proposals are groundbreaking for both the NHS and patients alike. At the moment, to get new NHS treatments approved involves research, licensing and analysis of cost and clinical effectiveness than can take several years.

The UK’s MS Society was actively involved in the government’s Accelerated Access Review, and mate its contribution to the consultation earlier this year.

It highlighted the important contribution that people with MS make to every stage of the research it funds and welcomes the fact that the final report recommending that people using NHS services should be involved in making decisions every step of the way.

The society’s Interim Assistant Director of Research Dr Emma Gray said: “We are pleased to see the integral part that people being treated in the NHS will play in these proposals. And we welcome a new pathway to speed up the access to transformative treatments.

“It’s currently unclear whether future MS treatments will benefit from this proposed pathway, but we will be following the progress of these recommendations.”d is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.

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ian profile is the personal website of Ian Franks, who is Managing Editor (columns division) of BioNews Services. BioNews is owner of 50 disease-specific news and information websites – including MS News Today. Ian has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media. During that career he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. He was diagnosed with MS in 2002 but continued working until mobility problems forced him to retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain. Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective and is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.


2 thoughts on “New treatments may be available faster

  1. Hi Ian. My name is Bonnie. I just turned 52!! I am so very much interested in obtaining stem cell treatment. I was denied by Dr Burt because I’ve had MS too long.

    My Dr at Johns Hopkins University has recently suggested Rituxan. I am interested in your thoughts about this treatment. I guess, what is the benefit to taking this medication. If I had $60,000 in my pocket, I’d go to Mexico or Russia for stem cell treatment….even tho I’ve been told by University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins Neurologist’s to absolutely not do HSCT.

    I have so much more to write, but I’ll stop here.

    Thank you!


    • Hi Bonnie, first of all, I must point out that I am not a doctor and you have not said whether you have relapsing or progressive MS. Having said that, not all doctors know everything there is to know about MS or HSCT. The treatment is not controlled or performed by neurologists and many are not well-versed in it. Dr Burt can only accept patients within the criteria of whatever trial is being conducted. I would not give up on HSCT just yet and, as far as the costs are concerned, pleased take a look at the Facebook group HSCT Fundraising.
      As far as Rituxan is concerned, it a brand name of the drug rituximab, and I recommend these two websites to you: and the MS Society.
      I hope that helps.


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