Gemma Lowery has positive meeting with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt over potentially life-saving cancer treatment
Gemma Lowery has met with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to appeal for a life-saving cancer treatment to be made available on the NHS.
The mum of cancer-battler Bradley Lowery traveled to London with close friend and Bradley Lowery Foundation colleague Lynn Murphy to meet with Mr Hunt to discuss whether treatment dinutuximab beta can be available on the NHS.
The meeting has emotional significance for Bradley's family as it was held the day before what would have been the youngster's seventh birthday tomorrow.
The treatment has been assessed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to see if it can be given to children, but NICE has issued interim guidance saying the drug was too expensive and not cost effective enough.
The treatment is currently available internationally and is believed to give a child an extra 20% chance of survival and can also kill off stubborn tumours.
During his battle with cancer Bradley benefited from the antibody treatment.
The meeting with the Health Secretary follows Gemma's campaign for the antibody treatment for children with neuroblastoma to be made available on the NHS.
Gemma, who set up the Bradley Lowery Foundation to help other poorly children, wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May earlier this year and was invited to meet Jeremy Hunt.
At the meeting Gemma was also joined by Juliet Gray, a neuroblastoma consultant from Southampton, to explain the importance of the drug.
The foundation says that following their discussion, Mr Hunt has said he will speak with NHS England officials to see if they can speak with NICE, who would then in turn speak to pharmaceutical companies, to see if all parties can come to an agreement to supply the drug on the NHS.
Lynn Murphy, head of communications and fundraising for the Bradley Lowery Foundation, said: "We went through what is happening with antibodies and NICE and explained that it is being used across the world and Europe as a front-line treatment.
"We said that the NHS not using this front-line treatment would mean that it is going backwards rather than forwards in terms of treating cancer.
"Jeremy Hunt is going to speak to NHS England, who will speak to NICE, who will speak to pharmaceutical companies.
"Then they will all speak to each other to come to an agreement.
"NICE have already said that the drug is beneficial but very costly.
"Cancer drugs are very complex and so they are going to be more expensive than others.
"We are waiting on a decision to be made to see whether the drug can be available on the NHS.
"It would be life-changing.
"We will definitely find out this year."
Lynn added: "Jeremy Hunt seemed like a generally nice man and he seemed like he really wanted to help.
"It was a good meeting, but was emotional with it being the day before Bradley's birthday."
Bradley. from Blackhall, sadly died aged six after a long battle with cancer neuroblastoma on July 7, 2017.
His mum Gemma will take on a charity skydive at Shotton Airfield tomorrow to pay tribute to Bradley on his birthday and raise vital funds for the foundation. Ahead of the meeting, Gemma said: "This antibody has been on trial for several years and is showing promising results.
"It is believed to give a child an extra 20% chance of survival. This may not seem a lot but speaking from my heart and experience when you think your child could die it is a life line.
"Not only does it improve chance of survival it can also kill off stubborn tumours.
"Bradley still had disease when he went into the antibody treatment and none of us thought it was ever going to go but it did because of dinutuximab beta.
"Hearing the news my baby boy was cancer free was incredible hearing his voice shouting 'yeaaaa the nasties have gone, I kicked cancers butt' was unbelievable and a memory I will treasure for the rest of my life.
"This drug is being used in the USA, and other parts of Europe, I really hope all involved with the decision to approve this drug come to a prompt and effective solution as soon as possible."