Scottish patients will be the first in the UK to benefit from a new kidney cancer drug which can extend lives by almost two years.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has approved the new drug cabozantinib for use by the NHS north of the border - with doctors hailing the move as a "positive step forward".

The SMC also gave the go ahead to nivolumab, another drug for patients with late stage kidney cancer, expanding treatment options.

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Karen McNee, of Kidney Cancer Scotland, said: "To say the approval of these two drugs is wonderful news is a huge understatement. This is massive news for those patients who have been told their treatments are failing and there are no options.

"Nivolumab is an immunotherapy drug which essentially uses the body's immune system to kill the cancerous cells. This is a relatively novel way of treating cancers and this is the first immunotherapy drugs to be approved in Scotland for kidney cancer.

"Cabozantinib has seen patients' survival rates improve and the toleration of the drug offer a leap in reduced side-effects, delivering a far better quality of life.

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"These are ground-breaking, life-extending treatments and to have both approved literally means the world to those who will receive them."

Kidney cancer is the seventh most common cancer in the UK, with around 12,000 cases diagnosed each year - the equivalent of 33 people a day.

Biotech company Ipsen said trials of cabozantinib had shown it to extend the median overall survival of patients by 21.4 months, and more than 50 patients in Scotland have already benefited from having the drug as part of an early access programme.

Professor Robert Jones, professor of clinical cancer research at the University of Glasgow, said: "The approval of cabozantinib for use in NHS Scotland is a positive step forward in how we care for people living with advanced renal cell cancer (RCC)

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"There is a real need for new treatments in this area as many patients' cancer will begin to grow despite current treatment. Availability of new therapy options such as cabozantinib is crucial - it gives patients a further effective treatment option and the chance to control their disease for longer."

Kidney cancer patient Tom Wallace, who has been treated with nivolumab for the last 15 months thanks to an early access scheme, spoke about the drug's "life-changing benefits".

He added that the new treatment "should significantly improve the quality of life, as well as life-expectations, of late-stage kidney cancer patients in Scotland".

Fellow patient Joe McCann added: "I know how it feels to be told that there are no more treatment options left - that there is no hope. I was extremely fortunate to be given the opportunity to receive one of these new treatments, cabozantinib, through an early access scheme.

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"I was told after I received the new treatment that if I had not received the medicine my survival chances to Christmas 2016 would have been greatly reduced, and I am still here, this is why I'm so happy that this treatment option is now available for other people suffering with advanced kidney cancer. This is truly a great day for kidney cancer patients in Scotland."

Ewan McDowall, vice-president of commercial operations for manufacturer Ipsen UK and Ireland, said he is "delighted" the treatment has been given the go ahead.