We are delighted to reveal that NHS England will commission rituximab for second line treatment for anti-NMDAR autoimmune encephalitis.

Rituximab, as many of our members may be aware, is a monoclonal antibody causing the number of a type of white blood cell that produce anti-bodies to reduce.

It means that treatment will now be available for patients when the response to their initial treatment is inadequate or when the disease is known to be severe or relapsing.

The Society has been heavily involved in developing this new clinical commissioning policy, with our CEO Dr Ava Easton, Professor Sarosh Irani, a leading member of our Scientific Advisory Panel, and a member who has been affected by the condition, among those who contributed to the policy working group.

A spokesman for NHS England, said:

We have concluded that there is enough evidence to consider making the treatment available for second line therapy to a well-defined group of children and adults suffering from acute anti-NMDAR Encephalitis who have not or have inadequately responded to the first-line therapy at four weeks of treatment initiation OR within six weeks of first symptoms.

Dr Ava Easton said:

I am sure patients and our supporters will be as delighted as we are that NHS England has taken this important step forward in the treatment of Anti-NMDAR encephalitis. We have been involved very early on in helping to shape this policy and it makes me proud to see a grassroots patient organisation be involved in decision-making which could improve the lives of so many people.